If you have never been to Second Life, you might not have thought about how avatars communicate with each other. But you would be right to think that because the person behind the avatar is at a computer, typing to each other, as in any chat application, has been the common way to communicate. Much fun of the typing avatars has been made, as in this video that makes fun of the clunky movements of avatars in general:
So, for a long time, there were experiments with voice capabilities, until finally the whole world has voice. The Best Practices in Education 2007 conference I attended in May had voice presentations as well as typed chat ones. In that context, I did prefer voice, even though I still have reservations about it. Wait. What? You don’t think voice is a good idea?
Well, think about it (and a lot of people are), you can be anything of your creation as an avatar, and your typed words can be crafted to represent your in-world self. Your voice, however, may suggest things about you that you prefer to keep to yourself, and I don’t just mean that you might reveal a speech impediment, although that is one concern. Your avatar may be quite sophisticated in appearance, and your little girl voice would suggest otherwise.
What other characteristics of voice do you think might intrude on your SL experience? I haven’t talked to anyone, yet, so I can’t say for sure how I’ll feel, but at this moment, I’m worried that it will cross a barrier of intimacy that I’m not ready to cross. For teaching, I’m all for voice in that situation. You?