I’m leaving all my groups.

I came to the realization that I don’t need them and they’re really more trouble than they’re worth. All group membership gets me are ads for things I don’t really need, and invitations to functions I really don’t want to attend. So I’m going to leave all my groups that I didn’t pay to join.

Actually I’m being kind of bitchy. The spam that accumulates in the upper right hand corner sometimes carries something of interest, and SL merchants do need somewhere to advertise. It’s just that there’s so much of it I start automatically deleting everything in the pile and anything useful is thrown out with the rest of the crap.

But the real downside to group membership are the group chat IM’s that are constantly interrupting you with inane and irritating chatter. And what’s worse, the IM format makes you think you’ve received a personal message from some secret admirer or someone who really wants to talk to you, rather than requests for TP’s or people flirting in the wrong window.

They say you can turn off  group chat by unchecking that square on the group home page, but I’ve never known anyone who got that to work. It’s like nailing up mattresses against the wall to keep out the noise from an irritating neighbor: it doesn’t work. About a week ago I started getting group chats of people yelling, “PENIS” at each other:. “PENIS!” “PEENISSSS!!!!” PEEENNNNIIIISSSS!!!” It got old pretty quick. Leaving the group was the only way to silence these people. There’s no way to shut them off.

I mean, it’s not like I’m a stamp collector or biblical scholar where joining a group of like-minded individuals gives access to special knowledge and privilege or provides all sorts of networking possibilities.  My SL groups are usually from obscure sims I was afraid might go under for lack of interest unless I joined (they go under anyhow) or clothing stores that were offering a gift for members (usually a tee shirt emblazoned with the store’s logo, or in one case a pair of woolen booties. Thanks!), or someplace I’d paid to join. I’m keeping the ones I paid to join.

When I was new to SL I was an avid group joiner and signed up for everything. I envied people their cool tags and their lists of interesting-sounding groups and quickly tried to cultivate my own as a way of showing others that I was cool and discriminating too. But pretty soon the ads and the chat spam f became an irritation and I realized I wasn’t gaining anything by being a member. All it got me was the privilege of being a target for ads and the right to be a walking sandwich board for them with my “SissyBoi VIP” tag or whatever.

So I started looking for the more obscure and arcane groups; the ones that had good tags. The more unique and moribund the groups were, the better I liked them, since I got the prestige of being in an obscure group with none of the chat hassle, so I ended up belonging to a bunch of groups that were either dying or already just a memory—a ghost group. They were perfect for me, and I still belong to several that I haven’t heard from in years, and whose sims have long since crumbled into pixel dust.

Meanwhile I’m thinking of starting the I Hate Groups Group. You won’t even know you’re a member.


About Aiden Swain

Editor/Publisher, Humm Magazine: Journal of Cybersexuality

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