Why Do I Fail at Message Boards?

I fail at message boards.

My password notebooks over the years have been filled with the sign-in information for dozens of them. Sports, introversion, writing, acting you name it. I have joined and perused message boards on just about all of my interests. (Even a few things in which I had only a passing interest.) I do so in an attempt not to just learn more about a subject, but to meet other people. The social aspect of message boards. I guess you could call it networking if you must, but really it’s a desire to meet other people with similar situations and/or interests.

I’ll post a few things over the first few months. I will find threads other people started and offer my opinion on the topic. I will private message a few individual people that I thought made excellent points.

And then…nothing. Silence. Cyber-weeds tumble across my internet landscape as I partake in the vacuum of my own perceptions on the subject. I start to visit once a month or so, and see if there is anything new going on. Then less often. Finally I drop off, and basically never go to the message board again, having never made any of the solid connections, (at least online) that I was seeking in the first place. Also without much new knowledge.

You’d think as an introvert, and in general somebody who doesn’t like messing around with networking and meetings in real life, a message board would be the answer. I know for many people it is. I have heard of marriages that got their start when the two people began communicating on a message board. But for me it seems I am just as unlikely to make a connection with relevant people on a message board as I am in real life when I try to network and meet new people.

Message boards of course have their own sets of problems. Trolls. Ridiculous amounts of politics. (And I don’t mean boards about politics; I mean the politics among those who use the board.) Depending on the subject a tendency to repeat the same topics over and over. (If you even suggest a question or observation that has EVER been brought up on a message board, someone will promptly respond to your post with a link to a thread that’s been abandoned for four years which touches on your point.)  And of course many boards have only one active thread..the “off topic” forum. The actual on topic stuff hasn’t been updated in months or years.

In short, message boards can be as big a pain in the ass as any other form of communication.

Still, there are people in every message board that seem to illicit thousands of replies. Not just looks, but replies. Those with either enough personal charisma or an intriguing enough presence that people lie awake in the middle of the night thinking about what they’ve posted. Then there is me.

Maybe my posts are that boring. Maybe people don’t like new people. Maybe I just don’t have the strength to invest in building a presence on a message board if it requires me to ask questions to which I already know the answer, or posting a extraneous response to a post in which I have minimal interest.

Or something else. I only know that what should be a haven for people like me to find expertise, a sympathetic ear, or camaraderie (I get almost none of that from most of the real people in my local life) is in fact just another place full of sound and fury. But without the sound.

Any thoughts on making connection on messages boards about your favorite topics?

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6 Comments

  1. I like the ones where I can subscribe by email to new messages/new replies. That can also be annoying, though, if you already get a high volume of email.

    “full of sound and fury. But without the sound.” made me laugh so hard because it’s SUCH an accurate diagnosis of many message boards…and often of the Internet at large…”Here there be trolls.”

  2. It seemed quite apt a description. =)

  3. Karen

    TY, first I just want to say I have no idea if you read comments on old posts (do you get pinged on them?), but if you do… This post really made me think, because it is almost the exact opposite of what happens to me! And I don’t know why, either!

    Maybe people just aren’t very good at understanding themselves? Though it’s always interesting to try!

    Anyway, I tend to post comments on certain blogs and columns: I find that some people agree with me (“like” me) but usually I just get LOTS of replies, with most people disagreeing, or going off on their own experiences. I have no idea why thia happens, but if you want advice, I’m willing to guess!

    My guess would be that I tend to take the opposite side to things (playing Devil’s advocate).

    • I do get notified when there’s a comment on any post. As for message boards, it could just be luck, or the fact I don’t like to comment anything similar to what a previous poster has.

Trackbacks

  1. Reverb13 Day 13: Community. (Lack thereof.) | Ty Unglebower
  2. Words of Warning About Obsession | Ty Unglebower

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