Back in ye goode olde days, if we wanted to make contact with someone, we had to make some sort of an effort. It was either a case of paying a visit, or sitting down with ink and quill to compose a message. Communication remained pretty much unchanged for centuries, until the advent of first, the telegraph and then the telephone.
Even then, the new technology wasn’t as intrusive as it might have been – for many years, telephones were a luxury: i can clearly recall the day my parents had a telephone installed. Back then, telephone lines were at a premium and we had to share ours with someone else in the street – a party line – before making a call. You had to press a button to ‘log in’, and if someone was already on the line, it was a case of ‘access denied’!
These days, you can’t hide – it’s either mobile phones in the supermarket, text messages from the chemist or Skype, emails and instant messaging butting-in to your every waking moment… and it’s every bit as bad in sl.
Inworld, there’s no denying the convenience of IMs – but often they can be an unwanted and unnecessary intrusion. It’s not so bad when you’re having a private conversation with a friend face to face, or at a distance, for that matter – but to have a random stranger suddenly IM you out of the blue is somewhat akin to getting a nuisance telephone call in the middle of your favourite soap opera. Even worse, when the random stranger in question has only called you up with an unwelcome invitation to bump pixels with them.
Then there’s the joys of juggling multiple messages – not one of my best talents, i have to admit: you’re frantically jumping from box to box, trying to hold four conversations at once, whilst paying attention to what’s going on around you. It’s inevitable that, at some point, something innapropriate is going to be blurted out, followed by those immortal words: ‘wrong box’. During my time, i’ve heard some absolute corkers, many of which can’t be repeated in polite company.
Random IMs are a particular pain in the butt for builders, there is nothing better than an unexpected message from someone who wants to chat, just when you’re at the crucial point where a slip of the mouse can send a million prims crashing to the ground. It doesn’t necessarily help to put a ‘busy’ response in place either – it takes nerves of steel to ignore a friend when you know they’re trying to contact you, which is probably why many builders choose to employ an alt for the purposes of construction.
The question is, whether to disconnect from the communication grid and become a social pariah, or grin and bear it, knowing there will be times when everything will all go horribly wrong… that’s SLife, i guess. Being a part of the communication generation means that – whether in the real or virtual world – it is part and parcel of the way things are that we will be assailed from all sides by messages and missives, good, bad and indifferent.
Far worse though, is the missed message…. Back in the days when i had no friends i tended to keep myself to myself, i never really understood those profiles that said ‘my messages get capped’ – what on earth was that all about? These days, i know only too well and there are few things more frustrating that receiving that irritating message when you log in: ‘Too many instant messages, delivery capped’. Yes, they do go to email, but it’s irritating nevertheless… what if i wanted to reply inworld? Of course, what’s even more irritating is finding 24 group messages from a club telling me every ten minutes what great fun is to be had on the dance floor, which have conspired to consign the message that i’m late paying my rent into the bin of eternal cappage!
This whole communication lark can be a right pain in the butt – sometimes, i find myself hankering for the days when the only way to get an urgent message to the other side of the country was by pony express.. .but maybe that’s going just a little too far.
i don’t know though…
I had to interrupt and stop this conversation
Your voice across the line gives me a strange sensation
I’d like to talk when I can show you my affection
L7 – Hanging On The Telephone