I’m an antisocial so-and-so! In a world where most people are happily facebooking, twitterising, whatsappulating, linkedinerbating, and plurkating, I tend to walk the road less travelled and far less crowded: That of avoiding socialising at all costs. I much prefer to interact with people in person, but even then it’s only in small doses, and occasions that are few and far between. Online, social intercourse is limited to this blog – which is, of course, strictly on my terms – and SL.
Despite my antisocial leanings, I do actually enjoy spending time with my friends and acquaintances inworld. SL can be quite a lonely place at times, particularly if I’m not in the mood to potter around doing the sort of things that you don’t really need company for: shopping, exploring and building, for example. On these occasions, I’ll happily seek out those on my friends list or have a chat to fill the time, and when that’s what you’re in the mood for it can even be quite frustrating when there’s either nobody about, or everyone is logged in, but you have no idea where they are or what they’re doing!
However, a significant amount of my time inworld is spent doing my own thing – sometimes this will take me away across the Grid, other times I’ll be hanging around at my own parcel of land, quietly getting on with something on my own. It’s at times like this that I can find myself becoming less tolerant of intrusion and interruption. Those in my circle of friends cannot, of course, be criticised for being friendly, and I’ve no problems with the occasional IM popping up whilst I’m otherwise engaged, and I will happily chat away should that happen. Occasionally, I’ll get an invitation to join friends to share in the fun – chances are, if I’m free, that’s exactly what I’ll do, if I’m tied up I’ll generally join them later. When I’m pottering around alone at home, I’ll often get messages saying ‘Hi’, or even ‘I can see you’re busy, but just wanted to say hello’, and I’ll never ignore or rebuff anyone who calls me up in that way.
Personal callers are, however a little more difficult: If you are wandering round and happen to stumble across me, or you happen to be in the neighbourhood and pop over to say hello, I can sometimes find that harder to accommodate. If I’ve decided I want to be alone, or I’m engrossed in doing something, often the last thing I’ll want is to have to entertain a visitor or engage in polite, face-to-face, conversation – horrible, I know, but that’s the way I am. It won’t stop me engaging with you, but the chances are that my mind will be elsewhere, and I’m unlikely to be the most facilitating host. However, this is SL, and if I’m in a public place, I just have to accept that sometimes this will happen and I shall live with it.
There are some circumstances however that will really irk me. Down on terra firma, wherever I happen to be, I figure that’s pretty much open house – friends, strangers, even enemies, are free to wander as they wish and proposition me, engage in conversation, and generally do the whole social thing. Elsewhere though, I’ve always considered it an unwritten rule, (as do most of the people I know), that up in the sky is by invitation only. Above the clouds is my private space – it’s where I keep my build platforms and workshops, and it’s where my own safe and secure, hidden away changing room is located – far from prying eyes, interference and random strangers poking around. If I’m up there, there’s a very good chance that I’m either busy, out of circulation, or both. Yet I have had people turn up without notice, make demands on my time, get in the way and expect a warm and civil welcome. There have been times when my visitor has quite obviously hunted me down, has almost certainly been watching me at a distance, and then purposely teleported to within a couple of metres of me, without warning, invitation or the courtesy of at least engaging me in conversation beforehand.
That sort of thing does not go down well with me at all!
At the very least, this will result in frosty reception. If it’s a total stranger intent on perving or disruption, then it’s a mute, ejection and ban – no questions, no comeback. But if it’s a friend, who seems oblivious to any giveaway hints I might give: “Oh sorry, didn’t see you there – I’m concentrating on some insanely difficult scripting that needs all my focus”; “Sorry, can’t talk now – I’m on a deadline”; “Oh hi! I didn’t expect visitors… I was having some quiet time on my own” – I’m at a bit of a loss about how to deal with it. If long, awkward silences or having a massive block of plywood rezzed between us doesn’t get the message across, then I’m not sure what will… Perhaps I should hand out a notecard with this blog post on it as a small gift to anyone who decides to surprise me when I’m in my own private world? Or perhaps, I should just grin and bear it and accept that this is what social media is all about, and I’m really just a square peg in a virtual round hole?
Solitude sometimes is
The place that I would like to live
Solitude sometimes is
When nothing really seems to fit
Manic Street Preachers – Solitude Sometimes Is