Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dear Internet...

You know what?

I’m frustrated.

Frustrated may not even cover it, really, but I’ll leave it at just frustrated for now.

This online thing is so annoying at times. Annoying, because I occasionally come across someone who intrigues me—whether it’s with what they say, what they do (jewelry, or mixed media art, or whatever)… or maybe even that through a friend, I’ve discovered someone who lives near me.

So, I do what I want to do, which is reach out and attempt to make a connection.

I have two examples of this. And I’m not even going to bother worrying what they’ll think if they ever see this post, because chances are, they won’t. And if they do, maybe they’ll see that I am a real person with real feelings.

(Or not.)

That isn’t the point, and I get tired of censoring myself for fear of offending “someone” when chances are, no one will be offended.

Example 1:
I saw an artist’s jewelry on the Etsy front page. It looked really different from my jewelry, but also really gorgeous. So, I clicked the photo. I was mystified at how beautiful her creations are, and I immediately felt inadequate, but I tried not to, because I’ve always said (and I firmly believe!) that there’s room for everyone.

There’s room for every type of jewelry designer imaginable. As long as someone makes something that someone else will buy or at least wear… there’s room.

So, I looked through all her designs. And fell in love.

(And if this weren’t a negative post, I would totally plug her jewelry here, for my half-dozen readers.)

But she does this one technique that I really would like to learn. I may never actually do it or find a way to incorporate it into my own designs (which, as I said, are VERY different from hers), but I sure would like to learn how to do it.

So, I went to her blog and left a comment on one of her posts, letting her know that I would love to learn that technique. Did she invent it, or did she learn it somewhere else? I couldn’t find an email address for her anywhere, or I would have emailed her instead. It felt weird to leave a random comment asking about a specific technique, but there you have it. I did.

I even specifically said that I would never copy what she does, because if she took all of two seconds to glance at my Etsy site, she would see that my jewelry is not and never will be anything like hers.

Several days later, I went back to her blog, wondering if she’d responded and I just didn’t get it in email.

The comment was gone.

Come ON.

Deleting a comment? That’s just crappy. I’m not a spammer blowing through a bunch of blogs trying to get free techniques. I was actually willing to pay to learn the technique.

It just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Trying to see this from what I perceive to be her perspective: I’m a weirdo who wants to learn a technique so I can steal her jewelry designs and make oodles of money?

Well, fine. I prefer to stick to communities like lampworkers, and like many other jewelry designers, who are perfectly willing to show you techniques they have learned or tips and tricks to working in the medium of choice. If you’re not willing to share a technique with me, whether for free or for a fee, then I don’t want to associate with you anyway, because while I’m incredibly selfish about some things, this isn’t one of them.

Example 2:
A long-time online friend of mine posted about a blog she’s been following. So, I went to the blog, too. And I saw that she lives in the same general vicinity that I do. I thought, “Hey! Small world!” because my online friend and I have never met in person (we live in different states), and what are the odds that I’m going to click on a random link and end up reading the blog of someone who lives in my back yard? Right?


So, I did what I consider to be the friendly thing and sent her an email. I told her where I was and said that I didn’t expect her to tell me, a complete stranger, where she lived exactly, but that I just wanted to say hello and that I liked her art.

No response.

Trying to see it from what I perceive to be her perspective: I’m a weirdo freak who wants to stalk her, she’s had bad experiences in the past after being too open and now doesn’t trust anyone on the internet…

It's also possible that she hasn't had time to respond. This happens to me, occasionally... I leave an email as unread, thinking I'll respond to it soon. "Soon" turns into next week, then next month...

But, I loathe being ignored. I'm trying to be better about responding to emails quickly, especially since I know how it feels to be on the waiting end.

Here are a few of my experiences:
  • Back in my college days, I spent a lot of time on the internet, back when it was really turning into a time suck. I used PINE to “surf” until the AOL/Prodigy days. I spent a lot of time on a MUD/muck/mush called NAILS. I got to know people so well there, that when a meet-up was organized (long before the site came into being), I went. Didn’t even give it a second thought. I’m still friends with some of those folks today. I even met a guy who eventually became my boyfriend.
  • I dated online for years before it was acceptable to do so. I would meet a guy on (and a quick Google shows that site does still exist), we’d talk on the phone for a few days, and then we’d meet. Now, I was kinda dumb about it at first, because invariably I’d have them pick me up where I lived. Little bit naïve, I admit… but I got lucky, and I ended up meeting some great people that way.
  • I met my husband online. We met in 2001, on a dating website. We talked on the phone for several weeks, met up, and the rest is history.
  • And, I’ve met countless friends online. Including a friend in New York. We were online friends for years. We exchanged postcards, letters, and even an occasional phone call. We sometimes send each other presents. So when she invited me to her wedding, I said, “Why not?” and I got on a plane and drove to her house and met her. Getting that first hug was like hugging an old friend I’ve hugged a thousand times. She turned out to be exactly who she presented herself as, and she said the same of me. (Hi P!)

It’s just not scary to me anymore. It’s no big deal. You meet in a public place, and if you don’t hit it off or if the other person is creepy, you move on.

I’ve heard horror stories, of course… people who go to great lengths to create online personas that end up being completely false. Even worse when others buy in to the persona and send gifts, invest lots of time and energy in the person, or worse—send them money. I’ve seen it happen before. Yikes.

The one stalker I’ve had in my lifetime happened during my college days, and we met face to face, so I can’t blame the internet for that one.

What I think it all boils down to, though, is that the two examples I mentioned of being ignored are forms of rejection.

And rejection is one of my biggest issues… even to this day. I hate the thought that someone doesn’t like me. I want everyone to like me, and I finally let myself off the hook for feeling this way. It’s just part of my personality.

I think if you could sit and have a cup of coffee with the people I’m closest with, they would tell you that I am worth knowing.

And, you know what?

I am.


  1. Ya know, Lindalee... You're absolutely spot on with some of my feelings too. I had a friend on Facebook (from high school) who apparently didn't like some of the stuff that I post so (rather than discuss it with me in hopes that I'd change something) she deleted me. Childish, I believe. We weren't great friends but I really enjoyed reading some of the stuff she posted. Anyway, when I discovered that she had deleted me, I was so crushed! You are right. It's rejection and that's not something that I'm ok with either. It sucks.
    So... all that said, I can relate, Lindalee and you're right! You are worth knowing!

  2. Well you know I met my darling b/f online, but he certainly wasn't the first. I've met a whole heck of a lot of internet peeps over the years...some have remained friends, many were replaced by others, some became very close friends (and one my darling lover lol).

    I love meeting people, and love the opportunities to do so. It was harder for Nick at first but not anymore. We go back to London next month and are meeting a Brit from my flist and she's going to show us Oxford! That is WONDERFUL! We barely know each other but who cares?

    Is that stupid? Is it taking a risk? Maybe, but if I'd stayed hidden away after Kel died, my life...omg no no no.

    It is sad these two people have limited themselves in such a way. It certainly isn't a reflection on you but rather themselves. And yes maybe both have had negative experiences, and maybe the first one did look at your work and come to wrong conclusions (cuz your work is gorgeous, even though i don't wear this kind of jewelry I LOVE the photographs, lol). But it is them, not you, and I hope you don't stop reaching out. their loss, it really is.

    Oh! we are on blogspot! I just realized. :)

  3. You are certainly worth knowing and it IS their loss. I'm not usually a blog reader, but I find yours very interesting. I've recently realized some of the ways rejection affects me and allowed myself to feel the pain for not having an email responded to, or the likes.... I try to respond to people in the way I'd want to be responded to, even if it's to say, "leave me alone!":)
    love you. hope you have a great wkend!

  4. OK, there's no excuse for the first issue. But, I will play devil's advocate for the second. You could have ended up in the spam filter. I have family members who change their email addresses and they'll complain that I never responded to them, so I look in my "gray mail" and there they are! I also rarely respond to any email at all because I spend all my online time on LJ & Facebook. :P So, it may have nothing to do with you at all. Anyway...

  5. True, I may have ended up in the spam filter. Perhaps I should be offering V!AGRA or something else that claims to offer large size or longer lasting pleasure! Haha...

    I've been thinking about #2 for a while now. I've come to the conclusion that it's possible she wasn't sure how to respond, or that she meant to respond but just hasn't.

    I've been thinking about respect a LOT lately, and how I behave in ways that can come off as disrespectful.

    I believe that's going to be my next post...

    Thank you all for responding!