As I mentioned in 100 Things About Me, number twentysomething had me thinking today. Message boards are a great wealth of information, you can “meet” people of similar tastes and thoughts and the comic relief that comes about on these boards also help pass the time when you are bored and not in the mood to read, think or be constructive.
I started on WC, innocently reading the how to plan a wedding threads for one of my friends. Then I got sucked into them. I read with interest the plans women were making for their wedding day. Unfortunately, these were women who were not engaged yet. I thought it was comical at the time because that is a whole lot of planning for something that hasn’t come about yet. But then I started to think about it; sure I didn’t have an online journal that depicted my dress, flowers, cake, rings and venue but I did have some of that in my head. I had talked to friends about these ideas and listened to their suggestions; wasn’t that the same as putting it all online?
I thought to myself, gee, maybe I should have a little file of what I want, make notes of what I don’t want but each time I felt a little silly about it and just kept it all in my brain. And sure, I have thought about baby names and what I want and don’t want out of a pregnancy/childbirth/child rearing line of thinking but again, I didn’t want to commit it to cyberspace because I felt like I was setting myself up for failure.
One day I hopped onto WC to see that it was gone and I paniced! Who knew that this little online community was so much a part of my life. I somehow stumbled upon CC, signed up and even tried to journal a bit there. Well I did until the one man I thought I would marry broke up with me and I decided that reading threads was so much safer than me writing about myself. I didn’t want egg on my face, you know?
With CC brought the drama that S and I would discuss, share with her hubby and from time to time, I would share with my IRL friends. I never mentioned names, locations or other such details, hell I didn’t even mention the message board. The funniest part of all of this is, while I had this single, secret behavior I met S and we ended up being really good friends. How do I explain this to my friends? Do I tell them that I met her through this site, will they think that I am weird (or weirder than I really am?)? Finally, a year into the debacle, I just started saying that yes, we met on a message board, I gave her tips about Nashville and eventually we met up for drinks and that as they say is the start of a beautiful friendship.
The interesting thing about message boards is the bravadothat it gives some users. I would say women but I know that men are just as guilty at saying shitty things online that they would never say to someone in person. I found that on this particular board there was a group of users who literally followed others from thread to thread, picking apart what they say, using items said in the past against someone and basically calling them pieces of shit for thinking/feeling the way they do.
Sure, I am not a fan of cheating but the reality is I am not there to talk to them about how I was cheated on and how it destroyed my self-esteem, I am also not God, so judging them is not what I was put on this earth for. I can give them feedback, thoughts and insight from my perspective, be there for them when they need someone just to hear them out but calling them out, threatening to call the spouse that had been cheated on to let the cat out of the bag? Not my cup of tea.
I will never understand how women (and men) can be so mean to each other. How the normal random acts of kindness are thrown out of the window just because they cannot be seen. Sure, I can act all big and bad, typing out my thoughts on this laptop but the reality is when did being nasty help anyone?
Then there is the reality of those who post online who make shit up, share the scandalous bits of information for all the world to see and then send private messages to those they think are picking on them just to say, oh I was just making that up. There is a reason why I don’t post most of my friends’ full names online, they didn’t chose to share information with the world wide web, I did. And yes, I blog about them from time to time but I try to make it as anonymous as I can for their sake. I want to use this blog as a writing exercise for me, to share my insights about my life but for the most part, my friends are a huge part of it, so I have to share those details.
I go back and forth with how out there I want this to be and sharing my guilty pleasure of reading message boards is a part of me. Something that for quite sometime I was ashamed to admit because, hey, this is new and different and just like online dating, it is kind of hard to own up to. But hey, I think it is now becoming the norm and I like that. Now if I could just encourage world peace on the message board, I will feel like I have accomplished something.