Sunday, July 08, 2007

Internet mates

Some (ie quite a few years ago) when we used the Internet, there were very few personal conversations.

There were web sites and there was e-mail, but chat and forums were not widespread.

Now there is a forum for anything and everything.

And we have joined a selection. Mainly interest groups. Sometimes to share expertise and learn, sometimes to get help with problems.

We were naive at first. Didn't realise that some of the fun, wit and sarcasm visible to the whole world was posted because some of the people on various forums have actually met each other.

In fact a lot of people have met each other on some of the forums we visit. Which is a good thing - and something that may not have happened without the internet.

And we haven't met anyone from any forum.

But people have said they were coming to Spain and suggested meeting us.

Or on a number of forums - trips are proposed through, France, Spain, and sometimes on to Morocco - which we have followed with interest. And then they stop dead. In public anyway. Don't know if they ever happen or if they only happen for the In Crowd.

We clearly aren't the In Crowd. We aren't the norm. Once we did it for some years. Well, we had a mortgage and a couple of jobs, a semi-detached, etc etc....

But if we commit to something, over the Internet or in person, we try and hold to it. I would like to say we always do, but we all let some people down at some point. Sadly. And maybe we don't even know when we do.

So the big wide world of the Internet starts to shrink. If you don't fit in with the majority on a forum, you fade into the background. You certainly don't join in with the very in jokes.

People don't seem to care if they say they will do something and then they don't. They find a reason to back out. This is not a personal gripe - we have read about people saying they will help someone else out - and's all too difficult. And maybe it's easier when it is just a meaningless Internet offer of help to someone you don't know.

Some people want to charge for any sort of help. Others are looking for income generation for their business. And there are some people on the Internet who are willing to help for no obvious reward.

Others are just self-publicists and they are good at it too. "I have just posted some photos of this event - and here it is" on my website of course - you want to see the photos - you bring traffic to my website. "I'm not going to post them on a forum, I don't waste my time on here for nothing".

So if you get good help and advice, that's great. We hope we remember to say thanks when we get help from the ones who are genuinely helpful.

Because there are always the ones who seem to be really good Internet mates and who suddenly leave you high and dry.

No, they've changed their mind. No, they don't want to meet you (even though it was their idea). No, they don't want to do an expedition with you (they haven't met you, they can't be bothered). No, they can't even take the time to send you any info over the Net.

You get a cursory acknowledgement when you send them something they ask for. Did they even want it - or are they just checking us out?

They pick you up and drop you faster than anything you've known.

Who are these perfect guys? And why do they think an Internet commitment means nothing?

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