I have a vice . . . Okay we all do but I feel mine is silly and due to a lack of discipline. It is getting too emotionally invested in online conversations (message boards and blogs). The conversations sometimes get a little too real in my mind. I think about the conversation constantly wondering did I make my point. I get offended when folks say offensive things. And I forget that these "online people" don't know me and I don't know them. I forget that "online people" say and do a lot of things that may not necessarily be true. You can create a whole online personality if you so choose, say you are who you are not, make up a whole history for yourself, offer advice and tips based on stuff you made up or things you found on the internet and not really things you've experienced and gone through. Why then do I find myself from time to time emotionally invested in trying to bring my point across to "online people". It's silly. I feel silly. I know it's partially because most of my days are spent talking to a three year old and a 10 month old--that I crave the adult interaction and intellectual stimulation. The other reason is because clicking around reading threads/blogs is one of the few activities that I can do while nursing or holding a child (I now can type pretty darn fast with one hand). Like many things in my life, though, I have to remind myself that in due time, in due time, I'll get that aspect of my life back. Online "intellectual exercises" without the benefit of really knowing the participants, seeing their facial expressions and body language leaves much to be desired.
I was involved in a conversation for almost four days that I have had to mentally and spiritually purge from. It took an ugly turn (where I felt that I was essentially called "the enemy" in a "spiritual battle") for basically presenting an unpopular viewpoint. So I unsubscribed this morning, deleted all the e-mails, every physical trace of the conversation. And this post is my final effort to purge and recommit to the discipline of keeping it light online. If a post starts out with, "I know this will ruffle feathers", stay far, far away especially as soon as you realize that anything other than agreeing with the main point is not truly what is being sought for; when the poster is basically looking for folks to sign on. I realize that looking for support only is indeed a valid reason to blog/post.
Online is to enjoy. To learn. To connect. Not to battle or feel attacked or be defensive or to feel judged.
For me, blogging and participating in online forums is supposed to be fun and enlightening. Supportive at times. Light. I know there's work to be done in real life and sometimes engaging in "deep" conversation online is a way to avoid real work. I know that my real life is serious enough where my online life really shouldn't be.
Every time this recent "online incident" comes to my mind, I recognize it and purge it with one huge breath out. I'm getting rid of this vice today.