OK, before I start, I think a confession is in order. Anyone who knows me (even vaguely) in RL will be aware that I hate telephones, and tolerate them only as a Necessary Evil, and even then it is only with great reluctance. There's something about that combination of a voice inside my head, combined with the absence of visual clues, that I find disconcerting, bordering on the distincly unpleasent. Perhaps I'd prefer it if we were all still banging rocks together - who knows?
Anyhoo, that preamble sets the context for my first foray into voice in SL. I know many of you have been vocalising on SL for weeks, or even months. But much as I espouse the virtues of Voice in SL, I have thus far avoided actual involvement myself. However, tonight I finally bowed to the inevitable. Following a request from a friend to give it a go, I thought it'd be churlish to say "no."
After some initial setup issues - which nearly left me with perforated ear-drums and permanent tinnitis - the conversation went well, and an interesting chat was had by both parties. However, I did find the experience left something to be desired.
- It was quick and easy to communicate about a shared experience - such as, I dunno, looking at a sculpture. Which is good for the "immersive, collaborative" thing.
- It added more immediacy to the interaction.
- It allowed more information (or just "wordage" if you prefer) to be exchanged in a short time.
- It seemed almost impossible to multi-task. I had a couple of IM sessions open, and these basically fell to pieces, as I found it hard to devote the necessary thought and typing effort into keeping these conversations going. The "voice in the head" was too pervasive - which is why it's illegal to use mobile phones while driving.
So moving to voice for regular interaction, am I actually limiting myself to one conversation at a time?