The question was posed and I have tried to think about an answer. However the more I think the less I’m sure about. I am a selfish person and my starting on LJ was all about having my say to an audience that would then expand into some sort of meaningful dialog. LJ is an artificially created virtual community that, even with the ability to spill over into real-life, remains a series of mazes and mirrors where you are never sure of who/what you see or where you are going.(I’ve paper journaled for years and one day the thought crossed my mind that when I die they might end up unread in the trash bin. I’m too conceited to want that to happen. Somebody needs to read that stuff and perform a postmortem psycho-analysis to see if I really was off my rocker.)
I want something I haven’t found elsewhere. One of my shortcomings is the apparent lack of ability to cultivate and maintain long term personal friendships.(Everybody, and I do mean EVERYBODY, who I have considered a friend at some point moves on with their life and we just lose contact. Managing to track some of them down over the years has yielded the same response – keeping up with former acquaintances is not a priority for them. In comparison it must be an obsession for me.) A lot of my brain cycles has been spent trying to figure out why.
Somehow the idea of virtual relationships (let’s keep our minds out of the gutter please) appealed to me. If others like myself were seeking the same goals and were online then we already had two traits in common and that seemed like a good start. The reality is that all (OK maybe just most) of us have another trait in common and that is having something to say. The problem is that not one of us is guaranteed of having any interest in what another is posting. Another way of putting it is everybody talking, no one listening. I tried for the first year to make my journal less about me and more about what I was thinking(if that is possible) but was never able to reach or receive comments from more than a very narrow segment of LJ users. Most of the more reliable readers/commenters actually found me using the random search feature.
I’ve made various parts of my life available via the web, including a half dozen or more pages of biographical info(still out there), around 100 poems I’d written(I removed them the same time I took my sabbatical from LJ), joined user communities, created other blogs (one of which I still keep current) and even tried various Internet chat rooms(total waste of time in my opinion). All of which has generated an insignificant amount of worthwhile feedback or comment. And yet I stick with LJ.
I interpret many of the journals I’ve read as attempts by the writer to cultivate and maintain a fan club or in the case of people with some sort of “problem”(real or imagined) a support group. I seek none of that. Any idea I come up with is subject to reader dismissal and any problem I might mention is an open target for ridicule.
But back to what I want. Give and take. Questions, answers, rebuttals. Point and counter-point. I dunno, let’s talk about it. OK?