How can I feel more involved?
March 7, 2007 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out how to be more virtually involved.

How can I get involved in a meaningful ongoing online discussion group and make virtual friends that I may someday meet?

I blogged for a while and felt like I was getting to know some people, but my experiences generally ended in one of two ways:
1. The people stopped posting or simply dropped off.
2. I felt like I was sharing too many intimate details and I dropped off.

Could all this stem from a fear of too much intimacy? Or is it simply a good practice to keep private and public personas separate?
posted by indigo4963 to Human Relations (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite (free, but more immature) (not free, but well worth $5 a month, better sense of community and better discussions)

ask.metafi----oh wait, your already here

Did I mention Fark?.. :)
posted by jmnugent at 11:01 AM on March 7, 2007

Best answer: In my (limited) experience you're probably not going to make friends through blogging, because blogging isn't generally a conversation--you may have interesting discussion in the comments, but it's ultimately Not The Same as a personal conversation (notably, it starts with you posting something and then waiting for other people to respond, not really a two-way deal).

A discussion group is somewhat similar, since these usually have a topic, which makes it awkward to start conversation about some other topic.

I would recommend looking at more real time things (messaging, chat rooms, IRC, multiplayer games, etc.), and just use your blog/communities as a very minor first step in meeting someone. When you find a blog that's interesting or someone posts on your blog in a manner you find interesting, then make a few comments (enough that you don't sound creepy) and then offer to move to messenger and give them a hook: "I was wondering what you thought about ...? Maybe we could talk (insert screen name here)."

And, hate to say this, but be promiscuous. Er. Not in that way. But try and cultivate a large group of acquaintances, which will give you a better chance for finding really compatible friends who enjoy talking to you as much as you enjoy talking to them.
posted by anaelith at 11:04 AM on March 7, 2007 [1 favorite] It's more about the meeting and less about the talking online.
posted by notsnot at 12:35 PM on March 7, 2007

I don't know if you are a female or not, but my wife really enjoys the female-centric forums at Constant Chatter. She definitely feels like she knows the people on there. She only knows one of the people in real life, but there has apparently been talk of a convention type deal.
posted by caflores22 at 2:22 PM on March 7, 2007

Do you have any interests? There are millions of online communities of people with a specific interest, such as knitting, religion, recreational drug use, auto repair, glass blowing or model trains.

Just Google for forums on things you're interested in. A quick search of a service like Yahoo Groups will turn up innumerable message boards for all sorts of hobbies, careers, and lifestyles.

Localized blogs about your city or town might also be a fun place to interact with locals.

You know you can also just go out into meatspace and see real people, right?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:33 PM on March 7, 2007

I wouldn't rule out blogging so fast. It's a matter of where you blog. Livejournal has friends list and communities (many local) where people interact. The majority of my current "real life" friends came from being friends on livejournal first.

I'd also look for message boards about subjects that interest you. Do you have a favorite magazine? It probably has a message board, filled with people who just want to talk about everything.
posted by duckierose at 2:50 PM on March 7, 2007

I've had good luck with - it's a general discussion board. I think there's some overlap with mefites.
posted by joannemerriam at 5:35 PM on March 7, 2007

Yea, definitely find something that you like to do, be it knitting, playing video games, playing around with Photoshop, etc. Then look for online communities based around that activity.

I have two very extensive gaming communities - one centered on WoW and one on Day of Defeat, which are both like my second homes online. I have met some excellent people in both places.
posted by gemmy at 9:40 PM on March 7, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the tips. I'll have to take a look around. Not that anyone will this thread any more, but a follow up question would be: how can I socialize virtually, from work, where there are firewalls in place, blocking most chat sites and protocols?
posted by indigo4963 at 9:39 AM on March 12, 2007

1) Use programs/sites that aren't blocked, e.g. something which uses plain old telnet over port 23, or something which just hasn't made it into the filter yet.

2) Connect via SSH to your home computer, and then from there to the rest of the internet.

3) Tell your friends "Sorry, I have a job, you know how it is, I'll be back when I get home, but I'll ultimately be a more interesting person for having left the house."

You might also socialize with your coworkers, even if they aren't great conversationalists. You're less likely to get fired for it.
posted by anaelith at 8:46 PM on March 12, 2007

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