"It's Just The Internet"
Some people give a shit. It's enough.
Of course, there are just as many people that don't. And worse, there are the kind of vultures that seem to take some perverse pleasure in another's pain, whether gloating (assholes) or worse - taking that whole "cluck cluck" concern troll attitude - while clearly twisting and manipulating or deliberately misunderstanding everything that you say.
I mean, why on EARTH would anyone be upset about being thrown out of a community they've been a part of for a decade? How WEIRD. How UTTERLY BIZARRE.
These are the kind of people who say things like "it's just a messageboard, it's just the internet" if you get upset by the deliberately rude or horrible things that they say or do. As if messageboards and the internet are solipsisitic playgrounds populated solely by robots and scripts, instead of being comprised of individual people.
I mean, isn't this what Web 2.0 was supposed to be about? Social networking, connectivity, all that gubbins? The internet isn't this weird little world populated by freaks and people who are "not quite right" (I mean, if they had a real life, what on earth would they be doing on this weird interweb thing?) and hasn't been for a long, long time. The communities and relationships and dynamics that form on the web are JUST AS REAL as the ones that form "in the real world." Especially, as in Web 2.0, the "web" and "IRL" interact and overlap with increasing frequency.
I sit in front of a computer for 9 to 10 hours a day, for my job. That's not unusual, at all. I have more interactions with the people through my browser than I do with anyone - friends, family, etc. - except perhaps the colleague that sits opposite my desk. My family are scattered around the globe. Ditto my friends - and even the ones that still live in London often live at the end of an hour-long journey on public transport. Is it somehow more wrong or creepy or weird to reach out or connect to people using a messageboard or twitter or facebook/MySpace than it is to use, say, a telephone?
So when someone turns around and says something like - and I quote - "if participating on a msg board can impact your life to the extent that you feel suicidal, then i really think you need to stop participating."
Take that quote and replace "messageboard" with "place of employment" or "school" or "church" or "social club" or "family life" or any of the places that you find your community. Yes, many of these communities are voluntary, but it does not change the level of engagement or involvement that one feels towards them. The pure physical *means* of engagement does not determine how "real" these communities are to those that are involved.
Now replace "participating on" with the phrase I actually used - being EXCLUDED FROM. Excommunicated. Shunned. Especially when no reason is given, and no recourse is available. Have you ever been sacked from a job? Have you ever been expelled from a school, or excommunicated by your chosen religion, or even simply "friend-dumped" by a social circle? Being ejected from a community - it HURTS - no matter what the medium.
This idea that the internet is somehow "not a real place" and that one's actions on it - or other people's actions towards you - somehow do not have very real emotional impact - is TOTAL BULLSHIT. And is totally in line with this horrible, selfish, solipsistic view that somehow other people on the internet are not real, that they are just playthings for your amusement.
If that, seriously, is your attitude towards the internet, and the social media utilities on it, and how individuals use them, then I'm not sorry. It's YOU that has the serious problem, and it's probably YOU that should stop participating.