Friday, May 22, 2009

VSTE Island

Over the past 9 months I have been involved in setting up an island in Second Life for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE). It has been a wonderful experience. I have met many new people, and expanded my technology and interpersonal skill sets.

But lately a couple of personal problems have popped up that have really been bothering me. You see, as a member of the group that has been involved in setting up this island, I am getting interviewed. By itself, that is not a concern.

I can talk in front of cameras and into audio recording devices, and sometimes I even almost sound like I know what is going on, which is nice. The issue is that I annoy myself. When I listen to myself, I think things like, "How many times can you say Um in a sentence? Idiot."

Perhaps I should have paid better attention in the public speaking class I had in college and not treated it like a joke. But really, how serious can you take a class that you can't fail? The only class that was easier was Weight Lifting. You record your progress and do an end of semester workout- A. In speech class, you stand at a podium and babble for the appropriate amount of time and you pass.

The interview that I gave for the VSTE Podcast Edge (Warning- if you try to download the video- it is very large! Patience...) really hammered home the fact that I am a "Nose Breather," or NB as I now refer to this affliction. This interview was done in Second Life and I was using a headset with a mic while the interviewer was recording a movie with his screen capture software.

I first figured out that I had this problem when I was doing some screen capture video clips for a Second Life video on Jamestown. Knowing I had this problem, I tried to breathe through my mouth in the interview, but I can still hear it.

I find my own NBing very annoying. The funny thing is that I have never really noticed anyone else doing it, so discovering that it was a problem, and thinking that I was the only one who had it, was very troublesome. I think I really started NBing after I stopped smoking. I found that I could actually breathe out of my nose and so I must have figured that it was something I wanted to get really good at. I breathe in before I speak- that is when the issue is most pronounced. So, it goes like this- deep breath in through the nose, with maybe a little whistle, then, "Yes, I like to go walking with my dog...."

I think my on camera skills are much better only because I can't hear the NBing. But just barely... I was interviewed on the local VBTV show- Access Virginia Beach (Under the embedded Windows Media File click- View Specific Segments for this video, and Click #12). In this segment I tried to suppress my natural head bobbing movements and facial expressions and ended up looking like I was about to fall asleep.

Over acting comes natural to me. Behaving normally does not, and when I try to be normal, people ask me if something is wrong. I can be the fool, but can I be Mr. Serious? Doesn't seem that way.

Recently, I was interviewed for a group of ITRT's in the western part of Virginia in Second Life. Since I am the member of a group, I tried to participate and answer one or two questions, but for the most part I tried to stay quiet. I just hid behind my avatar and and used the back channeling of the chat window. I felt like this one went better but I did not see it from the interviewer's perspective.

The most remarkable thing of all is that anyone would actually care about what I have to say. My children listen when I say, "Let's go get a Slurpee!" And my dog hears me when I say, "Wanna go for a run?" That it is pretty much it.

I am not used to saying things that are important to others... Maybe I should practice saying important things and then I won't annoy myself any longer. Probably not!

Fortunately, it seems like interview time is finished for me. While I would rather work on speaking like Captain Kirk, I think I just need to learn to breathe in through my mouth and try to act like a more normalized version of myself. Maybe I can channel the emotionless Data from Star Trek who fakes emotions to fit in with people. Or, I could just stay away from recording devices when someone wants the serious me and say things like, "I have no comment at this time."

1 comment:

Thunder Insippo - Kim said...

As always you are too critical of yourself. I have been at those interviews. I never noticed you breathing, although evidence would show that you do in fact breathe. You didn't mention how we girls, particularly me, talk all over each other. I'm always far too interested in hearing what I have to say! I need some of your self-control. ;-)