Monday, July 11, 2011

Text Messaging in Second Life

Text messaging, with its lack of diacritical marks (accents, mostly in non-English languages), dropping of words, and shortening of words by using numbers for letters and letters for words (C U 2nite!) is widespread in Second Life. Why?

I would argue that it's because those whose first typed communications were on the 10-key pads of mobile phones (mostly young people) bring their 10-key culture with them to Second Life, where keyboards predominate.

I won't get here into the ongoing debate about whether texting is devolving or evolving language, but I will say that when in world I'm not on a cell phone and I really don't want to hear cell phone terseness.

how r u
im gd
kk, c u l8r

It is, as Sweetie said when I told her about this post, the linguistic equivalent of fast food. It just doesn't do it for me. In Second Life I want steak and lobster, not Arby's fake roast beef and nuggets made from chicken parts.

I hate getting texting IMs at welcome areas. Want to know why?

It's because I find the senders to be poor conversationalists-- and I'm not talking about their use of texting. It's because they truly don't know how to speak in English. They just seem to have no experience with it.

That's understandable with people for whom English is a second language-- but most are from Cincinnati or Sheboygan.

I have far too many conversations like this:

how R U.
I'm fine, thanks. And how are you on this fine morning?
I see this is your second day in Second Life. How are you faring?
I love Second Life. This is my fifth year in world.
cool. ur hot
Thank you, I guess.
want 2 go somewhere
Thanks for the offer, but they're giving me a lethal injection in 30 minutes and my last meal just arrived.

It's like talking to my hand.

It's great so many people are able to text effectively on keypads, and sad they show such an astonishing lack of communication skills at the keyboard.

I dunno. Maybe it's hard to type on a keyboard  with your thumbs.


Melissa Yeuxdoux said...

I can see it in Morse Code: FB OM ES 73 CUL... but in text? Ecch. Showing my age, I guess.

Idyll Quandry said...

Unfortunately most people cannot think, hence cannot write. It's a shame..because in flesh life you can find something to learn even from your illiterate texters. Inworld though, too many limitations for that to be possible.

Larke Longmeadow said...

I definitely agree with your thoughts on this, Chey. It simply drains me when someone uses textese in-world...

I'm a happy-go-lucky girl with a serious side - and I am very friendly, especially to newbies and people who are nice to me. However, when I get a message like this one I received over the weekend (hi ur hot babe i c ur in sl 1yr cul wana dnc?), I cringe inside and run.

SL is an elegant and rich platform for creative endevours of all kinds; communication is one.

Thank you for this post; I do hope it will get us all to thinking about how we intereact.

Anonymous said...

i write passably good english but i do use quick english inworld. so, for example i use 'u' and 'ur' and 'n'. it's easier to type and faster, especially when having IM conversations. as an aside, i'm 40ish and don't do texting on mobiles.