Online Communities

I spent waaaay too much time on Althouse yesterday. Today, on the yesterday’s (Day 5’s) treadmill desk post, I got an invitation to join a treadmill desk community on ning.com, which is a social site I was only vaguely aware of before 10 minutes ago. (I’d run across it but it didn’t really make an impression on me.) There’re two treadmill desk sites on ning, but I’ll address that in a bit.

I played around a bit with BBSes once upon a time, in the long, long ago, but I never got hooked. BBSes seemed like such a huge waste of time. And truth be told, I used the computer to get away from people. Typewriter, deck of cards, empty sheet of graph, or musical notation paper, the clamor of others’ voices wasn’t sought after or (as today) inevitable.

Back in 1991, though, Compuserve was the place to hang out with techies. And, at a time when this was rather rare, I was a freelancer who got most of my work through e-mail. In that sense, it was a remarkably productive tool. I couldn’t have written my published books without it.

In another sense…well, you know, I have opinions on stuff. And junk.

And I can type 80-100wpm.

This is not necessarily a productive combination. I had written over a million words (mostly fiction) before I ever joined the online world. And I’ve probably written more than two million since then (mostly opinion). But most of those have been lost to the ether. And just as well. Indeed, the stack of paper I have from my pre-Internet days is no more–or less–frequently read.

I could, in fact, do this all day long. But since I don’t get paid for it, part of the reason for this is to manage my time a little better. And it mostly works.

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