Monday, November 9, 2009

Channels of communication

When you're in SL, and you start IMing someone for a bit, but you're both doing different things, and perhaps IMing others, and the IM conversation sort of tails off - do you need a goodbye before the other person signs off?

The reason I ask is that this happened to me the other day. I arrived inworld and someone IMed me to say hi. We chatted for a while with the usual 'how are you?' and 'having a good day?' stuff but then we were both busy and the conversation just sort of tailed off. You know what I mean, you've all been there, I'm sure.

So I continue what I am doing for a bit and then have to leave. So I log off. But then next time I log in I find an IM from the person saying "fine. good bye to you too!"

Now, I'm not really writing about that particular instance, but more about SL communication in general. It just got me thinking about communication in SL. I hadn't really thought before how we might treat it differently.

Y'see for me, I guess I see it a little like walking into a busy room at an RL party. There are people around. You chat to some for a bit, you move from person to person, group to group, don't necessarily have to speak to everyone there, and then when it is time to leave, you might say goodbye to the person you are currently speaking to, but you don't stop the party, get everyone silent and then say "Ok, I'm going now. Bye everyone." That'd be a little arrogant wouldn't it?

But it seems, for others, that IMing is maybe more like a telephone call. And you wouldn't hang up on someone without saying goodbye, would you? I know the analogy doesn't work perfectly because you wouldn't have three or four conversations on different phones at the same time, while shopping for new shoes, while talking to someone in the same room who is blinging with their buttcrack hanging out. But you get what I mean.

Maybe those people are just more needy and self-important than me. Or maybe I'm just rude and ignorant. Or perhaps reality lies in the grey area somewhere between the two extremes. Doesn't it always, eh?


  1. In general, I don't need a proper goodbye when I'm chatting with most people, especially if the conversation has already died out. If I'm chatting with someone and they're leaving as we're still actively chatting, then yes, the "Ok, I need to go, bye." thing works.

    Of course, I've had IMs from people who are logging out that I wasn't talking to at all. Why they feel the need to tell me they're going, I have no clue. LOL

  2. Because, like you said on the last post, is it because you're super fantastic? lol

  3. I feel a bit of a dick ending IMs. Alot of times, after the convo has died off, youve kinda gotta find an excuse to end it.
    Its weird, and I cant totally relate.

    People just cant take it personally if someone logs out without letting you know. RL happens. (so I've heard)

  4. I usually don't say goodbye unless I'm still chatting with the person, or the conversation died like maybe 10-15 mins ago (pretty recent). It's not a big deal to me. Although with some people, I tend to have this way of dropping a random IM now and again in the middle of doing stuff, so sometimes I do that and get "This person is offline" and it's a bit of a jolt :)

  5. If the conversation is died out then no I don't say goodbye and don't expect it from other person either. And so far haven't got any offended IMs either.:)

  6. I hardly ever say good bye, unless I'm in the middle of a conversation and have to leave. And actually I had one time where I had talked to someone and we stopped talking, then about an hour later she was logging off and said bye to me... and I was a little weirded out lol.... I kinda felt like oops did she think I was ignoring her?

  7. Personally I agree about not being needed to finish a conversation that trickles off, since it is different from a phone one; you usually don't leave your interlocutor waiting for an hour. But of course, it doesn't hurt to say "well, I have to log, see you soon".

    SL IMs are tricky, since there is no standard defined for them; as usual, that means we should step carefully, but also that is pretty short-sighted to be annoyed at somebody not taking the time to say goodbye before logging out.

  8. I'm not offended if my conversational partner logs out after the exchange has trailed off, but it would be cool to cycle back and say-- nice chat, bye now or something like that.


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