Kind of a weird thing to admit on a public blog to an audience, huh?
One of the cool things about the internet is that it enables me to socialize on my own terms. Because most interactions aren’t real-time, I can control when I reach out to others and when I take in their stories, and that majorly increases my sociability. Trust me, you don’t want to see me in a situation when I don’t feel like being social. I wind up silent and staring.
When I’m already interacting with a person, I’m golden. I’m not hard to get along with and I can usually get a good read on a person, so I can adapt to them. That bit’s fine.
The tricksy bits come up when I am not currently interacting with someone. I don’t like phones, though I use my cell as necessary. I don’t use any messengers at home. I don’t usually have email conversations (though I enjoy them). The only person I text out of the blue is my partner. I’ll respond to all of the above if someone reaches out to me, but I simply don’t initiate them myself.
Most of this centers around two facts. Primarily, I simply don’t think of it. It literally does not occur to me to contact someone unless something needs communicated, like when and where to meet for dinner. Secondarily, on the rare occasion I am reminded of social norms, I usually assume the other person is busy or occupied, and I leave it up to them to contact me at their leisure and convenience. It’s a measure of courtesy in my eyes to let the other person make the first move. (Note that this only applies to me, and I don’t consider it courteous or discourteous from another person’s POV towards others or myself.)
I’m explaining all this to point out that, consequentially, social networking is not my thing. Following a ton of new people at once on Twitter so they’ll follow me back and I’ll rack up the numbers makes zero sense to me. It clogs up my list so that I don’t see the tweets I really want to see, so I stop using Twitter if I do that, which defeats the purpose. I don’t use Facebook because it serves no purpose for me. Livejournal has been my home for years, and I have a great little home with my people there. (There are a lot of people who are LJ-only, I’ve noticed.)
Obviously, I’m not one of the guys who can “build readership” very easily. I have always preferred one-on-one interactions; I don’t talk to groups, I talk to individuals. My people are not a herd, they are persons. So, in working with this blog and being all publicky on Twitter, I am still reaching out to one person at a time, making connections and friendships the old-fashioned way, despite the new-fashioned medium.
Ultimately, I am trying to improve my ability to be social without playing the numbers game. I even de-lurked on two of my favorite blogs yesterday and said hi on a brand new one, which was a feat of willpower, let me tell you. Now that the ice is broken, I’m finding that I feel perfectly willing to be a vocal visitor to those places, instead of the face plastered to the glass pane, wistfully staring inside at the fireplace.
I kind of want to have a fireplace here, too – a cozy place for folks to gather, warm their hands, and tell stories. I’m not entirely sure how to make this happen, but I figured telling you that the door’s open, there’s room on the couch, and tea’s in the fridge might be a good place to start.
So, pull up a chair and share a story if you want. You’re welcome here.