I’ve met some people online who are stark raving barking mad. I’ve met people who seemed lost. I’ve met some people on the net, both male and female, who I’ve connected with intellectually, and I’ve discovered there is a commonality between people who cannot, for whatever reason, find social discourse within their own world as they need it. Those are more rare than the stark raving barking mad bunch, mind you. Alas! They are also entertaining as hell sometimes, and that presents a problem. Don’t fall into the trap of spending time online just because someone on the Internet might be wrong.
Writers are a hard bunch of people to find in one spot at one time, and the net provides an ideal arena for writers to trade ideas and talk about writing. Rarely does this happen and quite frankly I have no idea why. My one theory is talking about writing with a real live person is a lot different than writing about writing, which is a lot like writing about sex to someone, and talking to them in person about it. A few months ago I went through my various interests and hobbies and stuff on the internet that I had bookmarked and I nuked about 90% of it as a time sucking waste of my life. Writers, more than any class of people on earth, will find ways to procrastinate. Some call it “thinking about writing” which means you’re tossing ideas around in your head, but you aren’t doing that if you’re online playing World Of Warcraft for half a day, checking your FaceBook page every other five minutes, or otherwise engaging in some sort of social networking with people you have as much in common with as Lindsey Lohan’s pot connection.
Mostly, I network with people who write well, people who like my writing, and people who rescue dogs.
I’m not certain at all why people post photos of their kids online, and talk about what they and their kids are doing. This seems to invite trouble from people out there who are the most evil, and who can do the most damage. I know from experience that someone with enough time and effort can arrive at your doorstep unannounced. This was done through a series of articles I had written about where I live, how much time it takes for me to get to and from places around here, and descriptions of the surrounding communities, and photos taken from my house, and of my house.
Facebook seems to be a little more local than other sites and that makes it more dangerous for people to talk about work and kids and what time they have to be at work and where they play. That’s another thing I like about the Y where I work out; they won’t let anyone pick a kid up there unless that person is supposed to pick that child up. And they have people watching for this sort of thing. They have a pick up point where two or three people are standing there, one will go get the kid, another will wait there with the parent, and if you’re a total stranger or worse, you’re going to have one hell of a time trying to explain why you’re there. It gets in the way of getting in and out of the parking lot sometimes, with all the waiting and checking, but even for us folk without kids, it doesn’t seem that high of a price to pay for security. Especially for those of us who are by nature, a bit paranoid.
I get requests for friendship from young foreign women who tell me they think I am wonderful, and they would love to meet me. I have known a few young foreign women in my life, and none of them seemed attracted to someone twice their age in the first place, much less me, so I generally ignore these, and just pretend that maybe, just maybe, I’m the ideal male in some country other than this one. One of my sister’s co-workers did not ignore these types of advances and wound up with a supermodel caliber twenty year old from some other country. He walked in with her on his arm in the local café and jaws dropped. She picked up her green card one day, hired a divorce lawyer the next, and was never heard from again. Okay, so he was married to someone extraordinarily beautiful for a while, so what? That won’t get his car or his stuff back.
Dudes! ( and by this I mean Dudes my age and perhaps a little younger) If you’re not attracting twenty year old American women you aren’t going to do it for a twenty year old anywhere, and besides, why would you want to date someone who didn’t remember a time before MTV? What would you talk about? Nevermind.
Most of the people who I am “friends” with online are people I interact with on a more or less regular basis, or people who simply like reading what I write. There are some people I will not connect with:
Those with something to sell: If you feel the need to advertise your website with every comment you make, or every message you send, I’m not interesting in being a part of your commercial.
Those who are leading me into something: “I want to show you my new piercing but you’ll have to watch it live at…” Dudes!
Those who want to argue: “It’s those damn liberals who are caused the oil leak in the gulf and I have photos to prove it. “ Religion, politics, or Paris Hilton, I just don’t want to hear about it, okay?
There are those “Butterfly Collectors” who have 2750 friends who would like to be friends with me, and I am simply not interested. I don’t understand the hobby. I don’t understand why, or how, anyone would think this is fun or amusing.
If you fit somewhere in one of these categories, don’t take it personally.