Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Personal Voice in Textual Chat

I've been noticing recently that some people's textual voices are almost as recognizable as physical voices. Although timbre and pitch are not present in text chat, repeated word choices, phrasing, timing and pacing can create distinguishable patterns. Although some mannerisms are the result of conscious affectation, there are also unconsciously expressed tells that are akin to body language.  Some I've noted include:
  • acknowledgement of humor: tee hee, ha; LOL,
  • use of bridging phrases followed by a return (akin to the verbal "um"): but, and
  • specific patterns of emoticons and non-standard punctuation
  • consistent spelling errors of certain words
  • habitual pauses in certain situations, such as breaking a sentence in two for dramatic pause
None of the examples above are exclusive to any specific individual, but in combination they can be unique enough to create a recognizable signature. 


Mera Kranfel said...

This is the reason we often spots alts quite quickly i think(?) =)

sororNishi said...

...and one of the reasons voice interrupts my picture of how someone sounds. I think you are very right. It always amazes me when i hear people as being american in voice whereas they are a sort of universal english in my head.

I dislike voice for this reason, it breaks my image of that person apart.

Tateru Nino said...

I call it typing "wrist" (after the old Morse term). Everything including punctuation, word choice, grammatical style, pacing and timing.

Wrist is very distinctive, I find.

someone somewhere said...

I actually actively try to cultivate it. I never thought of it as "voice" per se, but I think you're absolutely right.

I find it hard to chat with people who don't have any - no expressiveness, no emotion, no actions (whether abbreviations - LOL, or roleplay type chat - *laughs*). It's a sort of "voice" too, but to me it comes across as the most dreadful monotone, and impossible to engage with emotionally.

Bay Sweetwater said...

Ah, text voice . . . one of the layers of that identity onion. Isn't it amazing how many layers there are, ways of getting to know someone? I always love it when I begin to recognize someone just by their style of chat - or blog post!