I was ‘talking’ to Bumbling Along the other night when she said this.  It sparked something in me, made me start thinking about the voices we attach to our virtual friends and what cues we use to form these decisions. 

It’s easy with the vloggers.  I know, for example, that Karin is a tiara wearing North American, and Heather’s a Rochdale lass who took a wrong turn and ended up in Lapland.  I also know that Nick is a fast talking chef living south of the Watford Gap.  But what about the rest of you?

I checked in to Twitter to do a quick tally and realised that to me you’re all southerners.  The voice I hear when you speak is, largely, my own.

I like the fact that the virtual world is a level playing field.  We can make no assumptions based on accent or tone, we can only go on the WYSIWYG and, generally, it works.  In real life I’m a stickler for grammar and spelling, and I’m no fan of textspeak, but online it’s a different story.  Sometimes you just have to contract in order to get your msg (sic) across and, on the whole, mispelling is ignored – it’s just not important.

But still, I’m interested. What’s your virtual voice? And what do you ‘hear’ when others are ‘speaking’?

What’s your virtual voice?
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23 thoughts on “What’s your virtual voice?

  • May 12, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I love hearing other people’s voices and putting their voices and faces to names.

    I love accents!

  • May 12, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I think we both know where I stand on this one. LOL! I do create persona’s behind people’s words. It’s wierd how it just happens without you realising it. It’s like when you read a book and imagine the characters, how they speak, what they look like, etc and then you see the movie adaptation and it’s a real shocker! I have a really clear pic of a few of my twitter “friends” (not so much the accent) and I’m not sure I could put it in words but it’s there. Like a sense of who they are. It’s a completely different kind of first impression. Anyway, yeah interesting!

  • May 12, 2010 at 10:15 am

    PS In my real world I would never use the expression LOL either!! I use to find it quite annoying. Now I can’t help myself. Oh well….

  • May 12, 2010 at 10:20 am

    It is funny and not something I thought of until Gappy recently said she had me pegged as Irish! Man is she gonna get a surprise on Saturday when we meet up. I’ve already warned you that my Chav Accent grows more pronounced with every vodka I drink.

    Apologies in advance and all that.

    I think I’m more guilty of creating personas in my head for bloggers/tweeters than accents. The test of what I’m doing subconsciously will be when I meet some this weekend and others at CyberMummy. Interesting post Peabee.

    MD xx

  • May 12, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I don’t particularly like my ‘real’ voice – its a touch RP / posh and tends to mean that people are quick to make assumptions about me… not always favourable ones

    I hadn’t realised this but yes, there are some people who I now hear as themselves, e.g. Josie and her laugh during the marshmallow challenge…

    I guess that’s why I like meeting bloggers, I get to put the real person next to my virtual cardboard cut out

  • May 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I am a northerner and proud of it, I dont give everyone accents or voices, but images. Thats my thing

  • May 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I tend to assume that everyone has an Irish accent, as I do, until I see vlogs and then I get a bit of a shock. Kind of on the theme, I like when people on twitter use a photo as they avatar as it is great to put a face with the username.

    So, are you going to post a vlog so that we can all know what you sound like? 😀 Go on, you know you want to. Jen

  • May 12, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Hrmm. I think most people know I’m Scottish, and my use of language (sentence structure, not swearing, although one could argue that point!) probably gives that away. I don’t really hear other peoples tweets/posts in their accents, though – that’s not how I interpret the written language. That’s hard to explain – but I don’t ‘hear’ the written word.

    I’d disagree on the emoticons/abbreviations/mis-spellings: I can’t bear them. They set my teeth on edge, but then I suspect I’m in a minority there.

  • May 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Oh me too, although I’m a terrible chameleon – having no definite accent of my own I have a horrible tendency to pick up other people’s! x

  • May 12, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I know what you mean, I ‘see’ people too and it will be really interesting to start meeting them in RL and see how the predicted mannerisms shape up with the reality. Funny how the internet changes your method of communicating. I never thought emoticons would make their way into my everyday language but I’m addicted to them now, they are such an easy way of conveying body language that cannot possibly be interpreted in the virtual world. Ho Hum 😀

  • May 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Apologies unnecessary – I’m very much looking forward to meeting the chav!

    I’m looking forward to the day that twitter integrates moving avis, then we’ll all be able to demonstrate a bit more of ‘us’….although for you I guess that will mean a few wispy clouds floating by 😉


  • May 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Nothing wrong with a bit of the Queen’s English dahlink! But interesting how you feel that your ‘posh’ accent can work against you when it’s traditionally the more regional accents that might feel that way. That’s exactly what I mean about the level playing field: we all appreciate each other based on what we say, not how we say it – much more egalitarian.

    This weekend will be my second ever meet-up of virtual friends and I’m really excited at the prospect 🙂

  • May 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I like photo avis too, although understand that it’s not always appropriate/possible. It makes a big difference to that feeling of connection though.

    And no, I think not – I am resolutely not a vlogger…..maybe a sound only clip at some point – would that do? xx

  • May 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Hmmm, hadn’t realised I was doing this! I hear you with softy southern tones. I have lived in the South West for most of my adult life so my Midlands/Northern accent has all but vanished unless I am on the phone to mates from home and then I get all broad and a bit nasally again

    I’m an accent grabber too so if I am with my Welsh/Scouse/Scottish/Irish friends it can get a bit embarassing!

  • May 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I’m a terribly selfish insular bod I reckon because I don’t really think about it. Mind, that means I’ve get lovely surprises when I do meet folk!

  • May 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I’m not sure anyone would guess that from your tweets – except possibly for the occasional ranty swearing session! I’m not a fan of emoticons either, but I think they serve a useful purpose online – it’s all too easy to be misunderstood or come across as being unwittingly aggressive without them, or maybe it’s just the wussy types that think that way! x

  • May 12, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I dunno. I think my argument against emoticons would be that the language has survived this long without them. But then maybe being Scottish I am more abrasive/direct? (tactless? aggressive? Hahaha!)

    It’s an interesting one – I like a post that makes me think.

  • May 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    I think the online world is difficult to negotiate at times because people don’t ‘know’ you and your tone of voice. I often read things that I think are harsh and later realise they weren’t meant to be. I tend to use emoticons a lot as although I don’t like them I feel better that people understand that i’m smiling when i’m saying something and that if it sounds direct it’s not meant to offend (I can definitely be direct!). I find it odd that I immediately connect with some people and ‘get’ their online presence and form a great relationship as a result and with others I may speak to them a lot but I just don’t ‘get’ them and feel a bit at a loss.

  • May 12, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    I don’t know about your accent but I can’t accept that your name is Paula as when I read Peabee I think of my baby Phoebe who we call pb. Odd but true!

  • May 12, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    I never think of having an accent and don’t think it’s all that strong until someone points it out.

    My husband (and my children) has a lot broader accent than me, yet we were brought up only 7 miles apart.

    I had to PMSL when I did my own marshmallow Vlog – all my friends in RL commented saying “What’s up with your voice? Why are you speaking all posh?” and I had to admit that I definitely have a telephone voice 😀

  • May 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Because I’m rude, abrasive, sweary and tactless maybe? Hahahahaha!

  • May 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I can understand the concerns about the ‘posh’ accents. Until recently, probably due to mixing more with ‘that kind of person’ I was guilty of inverted snobbery. They are just as likely to be as ‘nice’ or horrible as anyone else and usually have impeccable manners. I am an exiled northerner, living in the south for the last 28 years, but still retain a bit of my accent and would never dream of saying ‘barth’, for example!

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