In what ways does SL causes you stress?


Today Gianna Borgnine posed a question on Plurk - "In what ways does Second Life cause you stress?"  My honest answer is nothing about Second Life itself causes me stress. I am in world for creative purposes, to meet friends or attend an event.  If I am not enjoying myself I log out. Technical issues can be frustrating from time to time but I have learned how to tweak my viewer to get around most problems. SL is fun or else I am doing other things.

Having said that?  Social media associated with Second Life can indeed be stressful for me. Lately I have been reducing the number of blogs I read and reducing my social media engagement to some extent. I have to filter because honestly I have enough other important things in my life and finding myself upset by a blog or a podcast seems ridiculous. So, I cut the number of people I follow on Twitter. On plurk I only read  interesting or informative timelines. My once enormous blog reader has been pruned back to a smaller number of quality reads.

What is it about social media has changed from a fun pastime to a source of stress? Well nothing about the software has changed and people behave as they always have on the internet. What has changed is my willingness to engage in things that do not add positive value to my day. There was a time when knowing a lot of people in Second Life was important to me. I wanted to meet other creative people and make a name for myself within the community. I am quite introverted and being around a lot of people is always somewhat unnerving.  SL allows me to be social in ways that work for people like me.

Blogging is tailor made for an introvert. You can participate in a community and have exchanges with others but you can do it on your own terms. You can write when you are moved to do so and comment or not as the mood strikes. There is enough space to think about a response or an issue. So, I blog and it is not hyperbole to say this blog and writing for New World Notes changed me as a person in good ways.

I figure not everyone is going to agree with what I say. I am always up for a good discussion where people have different ideas and banter back and forth. What I was not prepared for when I started this blog in 2007 and what I am still occasionally stunned by is the random hate anyone who dares to have an opinion generates when they write about Second Life. It can be stressful to the point where I have considered ending this blog. Once every few months it occurs to me I should stop making myself a target.

A related stress is when my writing is misunderstood or taken out of context.  I feel I need to "defend" myself or set the record straight and without intending to things can degenerate into what I have come to call "dueling comments." I cannot even begin to explain how much the negative sniping upsets me. I get even more upset when I let myself respond or "rise to the challenge."  Even more fun is the follow up passive aggressive post about "unnamed" individuals. It honestly does not take a PhD to figure out who is saying what about whom even if you are only half paying attention.  UGH.

I sometimes think dueling comments and oblique posts can be compared to email in the workplace. When the snark starts to seep in and messages begin to fly fast and furious, it is time to pick up the phone.  SL social media is a great way for like minded individuals to share information and learn from each other.  But, when our tweets, plurks, podcasts and posts become weapons we wield against each other it is time to talk person to person or it is time to stop paying attention to those who stress us out. And by that I don't mean posting and tweeting about how we are not paying attention. We need to resist the urge to say "I am not paying attention. I mean it.  I am not. .....not even a little." We may just need to turn our attention to other things entirely.  Which is something I have been doing more and more.

Read any good books lately?

3 comments:

Miso Susanowa said...

I've been reading a lot of good books lately :)

"No longer riding on the merry-go round -
I just had to let it go"
- John Lennon

Botgirl Questi said...

We're on the same wavelength. I'm halfway through writing a post about why the 3000+ hours I've spent over the last four years on Botgirl-related blogging and creative work was worth it. It boiled down to the joy of creative expression, the ongoing process of learning and discovery, and the sense of making a unique contribution within a community I could impact.

As for Second Life stress, when I was active inworld, time demands were the main source of stress. There's a significant time commitment required to be an active part of an inworld community and keep up with friendships. For the first eight months or so I was spending 20+ hours a week in Second Life along with an equivalent time blogging and making videos, comics and other extra-world works. All the while, I was keeping up with a very full and engaging offline professional and family life. After sleep deprivation turned out not be be a sustainable solution, I realized that it wasn't possible to keep up with two full lives. Something had to give. I ended up giving up both my active inworld life and my secret identity. Those decisions allowed me to focus on the creative stuff and integrate the work I was doing between both identities. I have no regrets.

Mr. Crap Mariner said...

I'm going to ponder this one a bit. We'll see if I have anything coherent tomorrow.

-ls/cm