On message boards, there are three basic personali…

April 3, 2006

On message boards, there are three basic personality types.

One type is outgoing and chatty. This group reminds me of my 7-year-old daughter. She’ll talk to anyone. “I like Barbie, Care Bears…yada yada yada. What’s your name? What do you like?” When we were waiting for my husband to meet us at the theater for Star Wars Episode 3, she walked up to a complete stranger and wrapped her arms around his legs. “I just thought you needed a hug.” She jumps into situations headfirst. She always has.

The second group is slightly less sociable than the first. They remind me of my youngest daughter. She introduces herself to people then only contributes to conversations if someone asks a question she can answer or if there’s something she’s anxious to announce. She likes to test the water before she dives in.

The third group reminds me of my middle daughter. She won’t speak to strangers unless I prod her to say hello. She doesn’t draw attention to herself even among relatives. When someone comes to our house, her sisters run to the visitor for hugs and attention. She hangs back taking it all in.

On a message board, my middle daughter would be a lurker. The youngest would be someone who posts an introduction and contributes when she has something to say and the oldest would be one of the chatty people who keeps the board moving so it doesn’t become stale.

Someone said people who feel left out should post more. A person in the second or third group might try that. It might work for some but I don’t believe it would work for everyone. Writer A might post frequently for a month or two before cutting back again. It would be difficult to maintain what would probably feel like a phony persona.

The best way to deal with this is simply to be more understanding of the different posting styles. No one can be forced to post more or less frequently than they wish to post. Online forums don’t have participation requirements.

*Please note, the three basic types is an oversimplification.


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