walrii wrote:...the internet seems to have triggered some deep-seated need to “be part of the conversation” regardless of the content one is contributing.
Much like myself.
Unless I detect a certain burlesque to it, your post, I think, is not necessarily an embodiment of your assertion. After all, are we not trying to make sense of our world? How else do we bounce ideas off each other, apart from putting them out there?
Still, I agree about the Internet. When I was new to the Internet and message boards, I was somewhat intemperate myself; I desperately wanted to be included. It was entirely about socialization for me; if like me you're not good at it in the flesh, message boards can be a godsend. Then I found C&F, and Lord have mercy: for sheer fun, no other site at the time could hold a candle to it, and I really went to town with the intemperance. If you have any doubt of it, my embarrassing post count should put that to rest. Of course I've mellowed that out now, and I'm sure everyone is relieved.
But I think there's another motivator at play other than socialization: the desire simply to be heard, and thereby validate our "self"-hood. I think that covers a lot of it. For me it wasn't so much about that as it was the interplay, the give-and-take. It's why I'm not interested in Facebook and Twitter; those are more about floating statements and opinions on the medium of your own account, and if you have them your followers put their two cents in, or not. You're heard - probably - but it's not quite the same as the quasi-conversational format you get on a message board. Followers or no, on Twitter I'm still a lone account; on a message board I'm a member of a group. That's the difference to me, and to me it's enough to matter.
I also think that the oft-heard phrase "part of the conversation" is merely a euphemism, particularly as it applies to Twitter. "Part of the noise" is more accurate, I think. And I'm not saying this disparagingly; it's just how it is. Yes, there's a lot of information available to all in a way as never before, but it needn't be said that there's also a lot of misinformation, wishful thinking, willful ignorance, outright lies and hatred in the mix; that's information, too. "Information" doesn't mean facts. The problem is that too many seem to take what they're reading at face value with no attempt at critical thinking. Some people think that's freedom, but I say it's a prison. Once I asked a fellow where he got his cherry-picked and frankly bigoted misinformation, and he said Facebook. Nowhere else. He simply liked what he saw, and for him Facebook made it legitimate. I hope my negative response to relying on Facebook for source material made a difference for him in the end.