Monday, August 11, 2008

When the Internet Fails Me

I remember now why I never comment on forums or community style blogs, where people get into discussions in the comments. I went and commented on one today, about a sensitive topic to me, so I did it anonymously. And then I read several comments in return, and although there was a little good advice, for the most part I realized that they hadn't really understood what I meant. And then it hit me, that how in the world could they grasp the situation, when I had only left a couple of paragraphs anonymously?

Those few sentences couldn't possibly represent my whole life history, being, beliefs, trials, past experiences, basically couldn't possibly represent me. I needed for them to understand and give good advice fitting for me, and to be able to do that, they needed was to read a mini-novel that could tell them all this.

And then the epiphany struck; what I really wanted, was a real-life, flesh and blood person, who knew me, to talk to. What a shocking idea - a conversation where someone knows where I'm coming from! Where they know me!

The Internet has failed me. Or maybe I've failed the real world.

Except I haven't talked to people in real life about this particular issue because basically, I'm just at fault and would be whining about things in my life that I can't control, so I shouldn't try (And that's all I'm going to say about that).

I don't think this means that we shouldn't have conversations at all on the Internet. One unique advantage of Internet as media is its interactivity. I love reading others' blogs. I'm not always good at commenting on them, because I don't always know what to say, and every time that I do, I come off looking inane, or writing a novel. After I wrote that comment, I never checked the subsequent comments, because I was terrified that I came off sounding preachy and overly verbose (even for me), and I was half convinced that all the later comments went something like, "Wow, how did you attract such a weirdo who can't shut up to read your blog?"

Ironically, I love it when people I don't know comment on my blogs; I love reading them, and I've never been put off by anything that someone has commented on here. And I like commenting on blogs more than forums, because honestly, people are a lot harsher on forums about people who say things off the cuff of their mouth, and then go back and read them later and wonder, "Did I really come off sounding like that? That isn't me! I'm not that judgmental/pitiful/preachy/insert-embarrassing-behavior-here." On blogs people are usually very kind and excited that you're there. So I'm trying to be better at commenting on blogs when I have something to say (In order to also stave off the, "Hey! I'm commenting! Whoopie!" sort of comments).

Actually, I lied earlier in this post. About the original reason I had the epiphany - after I realized that the Internet had failed me, I read some scriptures, and prayed, and realized at least Heavenly Father and Jesus won't fail me, and they understood me, without me having to write a novel, because they'd seen my whole life as it had happened. And I felt better. I guess that's what I really needed people to tell me online, although it wasn't the actual advice I asked for; it was just the advice that I needed.(it was a Mormon forum type place); be Christlike, read your scriptures, pray, be patient. Seminary answers, except more often then not they're all the real life answers there are, too.


  1. The anonimity of the internet is a dangerous thing. Where I have tried to use the mask of a screen name to build relationships of trust this is a difficult thing. How can you trust a mask.

    Often people say horrible things on the internet if your remember reading my commentary in the Salt Lake Tribune and the angry and insulting comments that were flung at me. These people would have never said these things to me in real life. Some may have true but they would have tempered their commentary. A ad series online refers to this as Cyber Bullying which they encourage people to stop.

    If you wouldn't say it to their face you shouldn't say it on the internet.

    Well that's all for me now

    Thank you for being Honest Thora I enjoy it. Also remember you are a wonderful person who I've noticed day by day is changing to be a strong foundation stone instead of that decorative masonry as we had discussed.


  2. So much truth here. Love how introspective you are.

    I think though, sometimes we need to be able to vent/whine about things we can't control. It helps us stay sane!

  3. Hey there. If you ever need to talk, you can e-mail me over at my jamiblogs @ gmail dot com address. And then I can send you my real email address. Then we could work up to trading phone numbers and then we could talk like actual friends. (This should not be your first line of defense if you suddenly feel the despair that will eat you alive in thirty minutes.)

    I've had the experience of calling everyone I know and then finally realizing that God's the one I need to talk to. (What's that saying about God leaving a God-shaped empty spot in our souls when he created us?) Anyway, sometimes he is truly the only one who understands. I'm glad he's always there.

  4. okay thora, i literally sit here all day long.... ALL day. really. I have no life. call me if you want to talk to someone that knows you and your life!! i might not know everything about your life but i think i know enough to be more supportive than a forum. Just wanted to make sure you know you can call me. but only after 9 am MST becuase before that i am sleeping and then the morning chaos of feeding kids etc so its hard to talk.