Living Digitally–Presence

When I’m in a social setting like a club, where I don’t know anybody, it’s hard to get someone’s attention. You know people are there behind their avatars, but you don’t know how present they are necessarily until they do something. Dancing is one of those things that makes you feel like “you’re there.” Of course chatting is another way. When a resident is chatting, even if it’s not with me, I have the sense that s/he is there. Otherwise I don’t really know. Sometimes I’ll say hi to someone and get no response. That’s affected by the interface though. In the chats, everyone is talking to everyone. Unless you address someone with his/her name, s/he may not know you’re talking to them. Instant messaging is a way to avoid that because it’s a private conversation you have directly with that resident.
One day, I was standing around chatting with 2 to 3 residents. A few other folks came along, and gradually the chatting stopped. It was simply quiet. We were all standing there saying nothing. I thought it was very strange and alittle rude. A few days later I realized that some residents might have IMing each other, privately. So while their avatars were present they weren’t. It’s hard to tell what’s going sometimes because technical problems occur too.

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