There are many things in SL that sharply divide opinion – whether it’s child avatars, freebies, mesh heads or any one of a number of aspects of our virtual world, you tend to find that people gravitate to one side of the debate – either for or against – with relatively few ever taking a middle ground, and if they do, it’s likely to be more a case of ‘it doesn’t concern me’, rather than real ambivalence towards a subject.
SL seems to do that – it’s very good at polarising opinion, but not so good it seems at encouraging more balanced views – or maybe it’s just the sort of people who are attracted to SL?
One of the perennial love/hate favourites is gestures: An aspect of SL that people seem to either be wildly enthusiastic about, or dead set against. I’d been in SL for quite some time before I was even aware of gestures, or how they worked, perhaps because I tended not to spend an awful lot of time in clubs, where they tend to proliferate. As time went on, I realised that good friends tended to greet each other, not with a simple ‘hi’ or ‘hello’, but with a customised greeting, usually incorporating a raft of Unicode characters and accompanied by an audible ‘shout out’ of their name. How I longed for the day when somebody would consider me enough of a friend to merit being in this exclusive club, with my own personal gesture!
But that was only the start. Once I’d worked out how to manufacture my own, the gesture mill was well and truly up and running. Friends’ names, movie quotes, soundbites and catchphrases began to punctuate my conversations; I became trigger-happy, always ready with a witty response or a warm welcome to my friends. However, my real forte was quoting the slips of the tongue, Freudian mishaps, and terrible typos of the people I tended to spend my time with. Suffice it to say that my circle of friends live in perpetual fear of saying something stupid or even remotely capable of being taken out of context, only for their moment of pain to be captured and recorded for posterity as a Seren gesture… as a friend of mine succinctly put it, “Seren can type so quickly, she can quote you before you say it!”, and yes, that quote has found its way into my collection too!
Indeed, there are those who consider being, copied and pasted, gesturised and then recycled at opportune moments by Yours Truly, to be something of a badge of honour, and I – of course – am more than happy to oblige. It’s all done in jest, and – trust me – once they have me in their sights, my friends are quite happy to mercilessly turn the tables and remind me of some of my more cringeworthy quotes!
If you were to ask me how many gestures I possess, it’s probably around the 500+ mark, at least three quarters of which are quotes, and the vast majority are my own creations. However, what you won’t find are a particular type of gesture – the sort that, in my opinion, even though I’m a confirmed serial gesturbator, give gestures a bad name. I’m talking about those awful, screen filling chunks of ASCII and text that swamp local chat and whose perpetrators seem to think nothing of repeating, time and time again. It’s the chat equivalent of receiving an inbox full of ‘Nigerian 419’ scam emails and invitations to double your penis (who wants two penes, anyway?), interfering with normal conversation and irritating as hell. I have a simple maxim – the size of a gesture is inversely proportional to brain/dick size – and I wouldn’t mind betting that I’m not far off there!
The other type of gesturational no-no is the inappropriate loud, long and offensive musical type – although the word ‘musical’ is employed in its loosest sense here. Nobody wants to struggle to listen to music, or have a conversation, whilst you burble away in the corner, rapping about your bitches and clashing with the music we really want to hear. Save it for your own time, in a place where you can pretend to be a ‘musician’ to your heart’s content, but please don’t spoil everybody else’s fun, because it’s not big, it’s not clever, and it will – if you do it around me – get you muted.
I can see why gestures can wind people up the wrong way, but I also feel they can be a lot of fun too. I sometimes think I should aim to have a gesture for any situation… I’m getting there, but let’s not forget you can end up in some pretty weird situations in SL, so it’s a work in progress!
Oh… I occasionally talk normally, too!
Shut the fuck up she said, I’m going fucking deaf
You’re always too loud, everything’s too loud
Blink 182 – Shut Up