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."