Monday, September 12, 2011

Are you an E-Loader?

I'm not talking about the beer

My wonderful friend Georgie sent me a text recently that said, "I've thought about it and realized I'm an E-loader.  It's like being a freeloader except it's all virtual."  Over the course of the day she sent me a series of texts with confessions such as, "I read your blog and never comment."  "I watch So You Think You Can Dance and never vote." "I frequent cooking websites and never leave recipe reviews."

"You should write a piece for my blog," I told her.  "Nope," she said (via text).  "I've said all I have to say about it."

I thought about this, which is probably why I'm a writer, I tend to think about everything.  After I was done thinking, I decided that while Georgie might have said everything she had to say, I hadn't.

The concept of an E-loader is better than a lurker.  Lurker sounds like you're afraid to comment but E-loader gets at the essence of why most people don't comment or talk on-line...they just can't be bothered.  I think it all comes down to what you're looking for from your relationship with the internet (and, I must admit I'm a little disturbed by the words relationship and internet in the previous sentence).  Still, there it is.  Our society has changed so we now have relationships with people we will, in all liklihood, never meet.  Or not.  My friend Georgie works full time, has two kids and a social schedule that makes me shudder.  She doesn't go on-line with the thought of making friends.  She goes on-line to get things done.

Me, I go on-line with a different purpose.  Even though I downplay it in my blog, one of the main reasons I spend time blogging, twittering and G+ing is to sell books.  There you have it!  I've given you a sneak peek inside the core of my mercenary soul.  Of course, the by-product of all the time spent on-line is I've discovered an amazing, wonderful,supportive, fabulous, superb group of friends.  Even though it's unlikely I'll meet more than a handful of them, I still think of them that way.  Friends!

In the end, like anything in life, you get what you give.  Which brings me to my question for you.  What do you give on-line what have you received in return?  And, why do I have a sneaking suspicion that the E-loaders will read this column, smile and then swiftly move on to the next point of business.  That's okay E-loaders!  I'm happy to have commanded your attention even for the few minutes it took you to read this blog post.


Beylit said...

I never thought about it that way. I try not to be that guy that never responds or comments on anything. I try and say something (if I have something to say). I know personally it makes me very happy when someone comments on my blog or my pbase (possibly because it happens so rarely, but mostly because it makes me feel not so alone in the great wide internet).

For a number of years my only connection with 95% of my friends/family/life was through the internet because I lived in a remote section of hell (tiny town in east Texas). I think because of that I got to be good at not being passive online.

Now that I live in the civilized portion of the world I am a little more lax. Some days I am honestly too lazy to say anything. Some days, like today, I am not.

Sarah Tokeley said...

Blogs are my interactive stuff, I love to comment and get to know people. Other stuff, voting and phoning and texting for my favourite whatever? Meh.

SBJones said...

In my experience, lurkers are afraid to comment. If you find yourself in an established forum, blog, or community the last thing they want to do is ask a question that has been asked 100 times before to only be ridiculed by the existing user base. Also the reason most people do not comment is they can get the information they are looking for without having to register yet again on another website.

Johanna Garth said...

Beylit-I think my failure to comment is often more of a fear of having to something relevant to say than anything else.

Sarah, I think I would have guessed that about you;) I always love reading your comments!

SB, absolutely, registering for something new is almost always a deterrant.

Teresa Cypher said...

I agree with everything that has already been left in comments. Especially SB's comment. It is awkward "breaking" into forums with established members who have been interacting for some time. Even in "virtual" relationships that form on most, the basic laws of human interaction still seem to apply. I once likened leaving a comment on a forum as "interrupting a private conversation". Now, the reply I received for that comment was swift and minced no words. Context of my solicited opinion was not considered; it was taken as literal. I knew it was not a private conversation. It was open for public viewing and participation, however, that didn't change the "feel" of the back and forth exclusively between two participants. So, I can be timid about leaving comments. It is difficult for me to gauge the tone of written dialogue, so oftentimes, I leave it alone.

I loved the sneak peek inside your mercenary soul--it looks like a lot of other writer's souls, I suspect. And I agree that we do develop a superb group of friends...virtual or not... They all real human beings typing away at those keyboards, huh? :-)

What do I give and get online? People. I like the interaction. I have participated on several forums, and have learned that there are a lot of lonely people out there. So, I work at responding to comments, messages, etc. And it is work. Trying to develop readership, friends lists, and followers, is work, but I don't lose sight of the human side of it. Balancing shameless self-promotion with online interaction is time-consuming, but I must get some kind of joy from it, or I wouldn't do it.

Ha! I am laughing at my statement above about being timid leaving comments. Holy cow! Timid...yes, but once I get started, just try to get me stopped. :-)

Another great post, Johanna...

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Teresa, I can tell how shy you are ;) Just kidding, I'm so glad you found my blog and I love your comments.

The funniest comment I received about this post was from a friend who texted me, "loved your blog post today. Would've commented but I didn't because I'm an eloader too."

Georgie said...

OK, now that we've been outed, E-Loaders UNITE! Can we muster up the commitment to "like" something on Facebook? Maybe give a restaurant some "stars" on Yelp? Baby steps . . . .

Another thought, besides the insanely busy schedule (which is probably the number one factor), I think part of what makes me an E-Loader is my Scandinavian/Lutheran upbringing where I learned (via a mixture of subtext and tight-lipped smiles) if you don't have something interesting or profound to say, you shouldn't say anything at all!

I just can't keep quiet about "Losing Sanity" any longer however. I look forward to receiving the post every day -- Johanna is a bright and shining star and her blog (AND BOOK) make the internet (or, "the web," as my mom still calls it) a more interesting place. Ironically, her friendship brings sanity and beauty to my life. Lucky me.

I've said my piece. It was probably neither interesting nor profound. I survived, but I am left feeling slightly uncomfortable and vulnerable. I will now retreat to my more comfortable E-Loader status. Adieu . . . .

Johanna Garth said...

Aww George! Such a nice comment from my favorite E-Loading friend!