I'm thankful for the Internet, and for a network of mailing lists that go back an average of 10 years, and closer to 15 in some cases. I'm part of several sometimes-overlapping online communities, in a low-key way which is very meaningful to me. Then again, I'm an introvert by nature, as well as a bit of a loner. Folks who know my "public persona" tend to react to this with disbelief, but hey, it's a carefully cultivated tip of the iceberg kind of thing. I'm wary of close emotional connections with folks unless they are physically distant or I don't see them often, or both.

Fortunately, most of my close friends tend to also be introverts or loners-- something of a contradiction in terms, but one that lets us keep an emotional connection going without overloading me. The ones who are gung-ho people persons have just learned to deal with me. :-)

But where would I be without my real live "virtual community", or communities, since some are quite disparate. They don't provide an immersive social experience, but then I don't WANT an immersive social experience. They provide a pool of folks who I feel I know a little more than strangers, but whom I don't know so well as to be put off or bored by. What do folks who socialize more normally do, or folks who don't have this kind of online history? Apparently, here in the Valley at least, they mostly just lose out.


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