“Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing” – Thoughts on Leaving an Online Discussion Forum
I recently left an online discussion hosted by a Lutheran group. I have left it before, only to come back, like a moth attracted to a flame, but this time I’m gone for good. In fact, I’ve found in the last six months or so my interest in participating in discussions online has greatly diminished and frankly, when it comes to Lutheran discussions, I have come to a point where I find them to be enormously boring. It strikes me that, and I know this is not fair, entirely, but often it strikes me that they are basically the same twelve people talking about the same six topics. I used to be really “into” internet conversations. I was like the guy in the cartoon.
The forum I left most recently was poorly moderated, a major downfall of many fora, and as a result, the discussions were always overwhelmed by really ridiculous off-topic comments. Now there are some bright spots and every once in a while you find a few salient and sensible remarks from some more sober-minded pastors, but mostly, it is nothing more than ongoing chattering and logomachy. I cite it as but an example of what a horrendous waste of time much of what goes on, on the Internet, amounts to. Since weening myself away from this kind of chatter, I’m reading more, enjoying other activities and find that I’m just more “balanced” in my points of view.
It reminds me of what the Bard wrote in MacBeth:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Frankly, I enjoy far more the ‘real time’ commenting I find on Facebook, and continue to enjoy blogging and reading a few blogs, but even here, I’ve found myself following fewer and fewer blog sites as well.
I’m still pretty much convinced that the humorist Dave Barry was right when he said once, “Internet conversations are just like CB radio used to be, only with a whole lot more typing.”
Am I alone in feeling burned out on the narcissism and logomachy that seems to dominate online conversations? And how about how some people use Twitter and Facebook? As one who was deeply involved in them, for too long, I can tell you it sure feels good to get away from it and stop caring what silly conversations are going on, and never ending, online. It is just boring.