I grew up as an only child. I can’t speak for every only child, but I grew accustomed to dealing with some things better than I’ve observed people who have siblings do, such as quiet and general isolation. It was just an everyday thing. They’re enjoyable, if you let them be. They give you time to reflect and think. You have time to flesh out the skeletons of ideas that come to you over the course of the day, but can’t consider during the hustle and bustle.
With the grand invention of the Internet, though, I can talk to everyone I know whenever I want. I can discuss these ideas. I can get whatever information I need to understand anything I want better. I can put my thoughts out there in get approval and critiques in order to refine them further.
But, as most of us have discovered, at one time or another, that’s not really the way it works. Let’s ignore that people really love their cat videos. Let’s pretend forums aren’t filled with trolls and don’t act as echo chambers. Let’s even suspend our disbelief and say that people don’t willfully spread misinformation. Even with all of those caveats, it seems as though there’s this ENORMOUS hill to overcome in order to get people to take time to engage in conversations. I don’t come here to read the news, I come here to talk about the news and whatever else is on my mind. If you’re here for news, go click that link labeled “Ongoing Worldwide Data Sources.”
The lack of interactivity when I try to start discussions, though, is a bit disheartening. I talk about and share things because I think they warrant discussion. In trying to encourage discussion, I’m being passively incentivized to make whatever I’m saying as inflammatory as possible, and I’ve tried my best not to do that. Picking a fight isn’t a good way to start a conversation, and neither is using guilt (and I hope you, dear reader, do not think of this post as such).
If I knew how engage people online without feeling like a bully, I wouldn’t be writing this. I try to be the kind of person I want other people to be online – commenting back, liking, giving any indication that what they’re doing is worthwhile. I’m okay continuing to yell into the void, it just seems odd that so many people choose to be a part of it. It’s weird that, given how easy it is to share, how many people choose not to.
Thanks for reading.