Saturday, March 11, 2006

Reality Finally Sets In

At least a dozen times in the past, I’ve waxed poetic about how the community aspect of journal-land took many of us by surprise. My original "About Me" from 2 ½ years ago cryptically referred to the fact that I was coming off several bad years in a row. I stumbled into the j-land community at a time when I was more than needy.

Within twelve months of putting down my roots in the virtual neighborhood, I had hooked up with more people that I considered friends than I had ever had at any one time in my life. Friends with different lifestyles. Friends from all over the country. I felt so rich.

But I didn’t know—maybe nobody knew—the dynamics of on-line friendships. By the time the second year had passed, the reality of the "community" was beginning to dawn. The transience of the relationships. The "burn-out" factor. The factions, the cliques, the tugs-of-war. Most disconcerting was the way people just…disappeared. You could think you were best buddies with someone one minute, and the next minute, they would just fall off the edge of the earth. Disappear. Go private, or shut down altogether. No explanations, no goodbyes. Journal land became a very odd place to be.

And so it is. Still. None—not one—of my original j-land friends writes with the frequency or the abandon that we used to. For the most part, they don’t even stop by any more…or, if they do, they choose not to leave any evidence thereof. I would love to say that I "get it;" that I understand that the relationships have changed and that I can function just fine with things the way they are. But the truth is, I can’t. It really hurts me. I’ve had too many very important people go out of my life completely over the last decade. People that I loved went away, and I couldn’t stop them. And I feel that I’m going through that all over again, on a smaller but more daily scale, with all my journal friends.

It used to be, you visited a journal, you made some comment—any comment at all just to show you’d stopped by. Now, unless you have "Something" to say, you don’t comment. It just isn’t done. And it’s almost become a game of, "Okay, if you won’t leave a comment for me, then I won’t leave one for you." Some convoluted game of paybacks and wounded feelings.

So now what? Much as I would like to hold this together, I feel like I have no control whatsoever over the direction my journal experience is headed. The handwriting is on the wall for me with some of the people I’ve felt closest to in j-land. I feel like I sign on and just wander around empty hallways that used to be filled with friends chatting and laughing, trading anecdotes and crying on each others’ shoulders. It’s gettin’ kinda lonely out here…



  1. I kind of feel this way about my albums on webshots. Five people have me listed as a favorite, a lot of my photos have been downloaded. Since the counter only says how many, not which ones, for all I know thirty people may all love the single dogwood blossom and totally loathe everything else in the album. I kind of wish somebody would leave a note saying what they like. I'm just curious, ya know? Dogwoods are cool, I hate butterfly bushes, cool day lilies.

    Just so you know, my day's always brighter when I find one of your entries. It may take me awhile to come up with a comment, but the day always looks a little better. :-)


  2. I agree with you, totally!  I tried to write an entry on this subject; but I didn't not say it near as well as you have here!  I confess.  I am a lurker.  I lurk here, all the time.  But, you write so well, there really isn't anything to add!  I just wanted you to know I am "out here" in these empty hallways, with you...JAE

  3. I thought I was the only one feeling this way. It seems especially after the whole AOL exodus thing a few months ago it happens even more...

  4. I agree with you.  It appears that during the past two years, most of us were merely "ships that passed in the night".  I know I'm one of those who don't write as frequently as before.  Lately I've felt that there's nothing left for me to write about at the present time.  I've put a lot of myself in previous entries and I often feel that some of my best ones were posted long before most people began "reading" me.  Perhaps if we sit tight, another round of spontaneity and friendly exchange of entries will take place but, in truth, I think what we all experienced was a one-time phenomenon.  Who knows what's up next!

  5. I suppose in a way living here in the journal community is sort of like living in an apartment building/complex. People move in and people move out. Sometimes they tell you and pther times they don't. Sometimes you continue the friendship that started after they/or you move other times it ends. There are times that you continue the friendship and over time it slowly peters out. So goes life.

  6. I understand completely what you are saying here. A friend of mine just posted a similar is his link

    And here is mine...

  7. Yes we lose old friends but we gain more friends I have just found your journal and stopped and am leaving a comment just to hello New Friend ~  drop by some time and share a cup of tea ~Ally

  8. My comment was too large to fit in this section, so I'm sending it via email.

    I happened upon your journal through one of my regular reads - and I really enjoyed reading! I'll add you to alerts, if you don't mind, as I'd like to stop by again! :)


  9. Since I still reel from the hurt of dear friends lost over my lifetime whom I conclude must not have felt the same way I did, I can only think this is way life is.  Like Ally says you lose friends and gain new ones.  Those of us who are sensitive about this have to "love the one(s) you're with".   It is curious how some casual acquaintances keep in touch for decades while some soulmates disappear. And I'm talking about people I saw every day, not online friends.  On the other hand,  it could be that somewhere, someone is missing me and I shut them out.  Have you seen that "A Reason, A Season, or a Lifetime?"  It's long so I won't type it all, but the gist is some people come into your life to help you for some reason and move on because the need has been met.  Others come for a season and like spring and summer, just naturally go away without any wrong doing on your part, even at an inconvenient time.  Lifetime relationships exist to teach lifetime lessons that must be built upon. Kind of a cosmic view, but somewhat comforting to me.  Keep loving like you've never been hurt and keep journaling for those of us here.

  10. Hi, nice to meet you.  I've popped over here from csandhollow's place.  I'm fairly new here and have already felt that sting.  It's particularly amazing to me because I don't "let people in" that fast in my day-to-day.  I always comment if I visit a journal via another journal...courtesy.  I've decided to take the stance that I have in "real time"...those who are supposed to be in my life...will be. ;)  C.

  11. You've said it for all of us. I think we all feel a certain sadness over the turn of events. And there are so many people who have just dropped off the face of the j-land earth! What has happened to Ty of Nincompoops? I want to know he is okay. And Amy "Slo-Mo" she okay? So many people out there who have touched me in one way or another, with a kind comment when I was having a tough time with the job, or an entry that really reached me, truly spoke to me.  I look forward to finding new firends here, but I sure miss some of the old one.


  12. yes I miss so many who use to post all the time and nolonger post I really miss them i often wonder do they really miss me???????