Or, I hope to say soon, I am a recovering message board addict. Who would have thought, back in 7/2000, when I stumbled across my first message board (Parent soup's Aug98' playgroup) that I would become hooked.
It started easily. I was googling for some information on my then two year old's constipation. The second hit was the Parents Soup message boards. I got an account, logged in, and embarked on 2 year love affair with this group. It was so darned interesting-reading about the trials and tribulations of others...who were raising children exactly my son's age. I admit, I would sometimes get up at 2-3 AM just to "check in" on what the London Moms were talking about. An addiction was born. Only I didn't realize it.
I joined the Expectant mothers group for Oct'01 during my time at Parents Soup. I loved that group. I loved the set up (this was before the crazy odd way they have it going now), fell in love with the leaders, cried over early losses (while secretly running out to get another pregnancy test, just in case). And then, we lost the baby. And I posted about it and read, re read...and then re read again the condolences. And got angry because I felt they didn't really "mean it", I mean, I bet they were gleefully rubbing their bellies, being glad it wasn't them. At least, that's how I felt. So then, I lurked on that board. Yes, I confess, I could not stay away. It was completely the pulling of the scab off to examine the wound, and perhaps pour a little borax in.
and then, joy of joys, I found the TTCPL group (trying to conceive after pregnancy loss) Of course, this was a stupid move, because my husband was already hoping for the vasectomy he was already sure he was going to have. I lost myself in this group. They,alone, knew what I was feeling. They bolstered me, cried with me and ranted about the vasectomy the day that it happened. I made a few very close friends there that I am sorry I didn't keep up with, because now I feel I used them.
Moving on, for we must confess it all to be truly cleansed ( I hope) of the addiction...
Sometime after September 11th, and the fear, anger, disbelief, we all went through, I found a place called DemocraticUnderground. At the time I first found it, they were not accepting new registrants, as the whole blue v. red thing was heating up and there were a lot of trolls around. Finally, in March '03, I gained access to this site. This is when my addiction heated up like the bottom of a coffee pot with no liquid in it. In 4 years I posted 40,000 times. About politics, my family, activism...you name it. I posted it. Even the baby panda from the San Diego zoo got equal time. I moderated, fretted, wrote and rewrote posts, placed people on ignore (only to un-ignore them to see what they were talking about) donated, stayed up way too late etc. I literally spent hours on this site. Until I realized the toll it was taking on my family. Even then, I still logged in three times a day, for an hour, to check up on "friends", post responses, read private messages, and the like. Then, one day, I realized I was no longer there for the reasons I had joined. I had joined for activism, change and politics. I ended up staying for the gossip, intrigue and high school popularity contests.
It has been 3 months since my last post. I only went there twice this week. I have not signed on to another message board...okay, I'm lying there. I'm a member of the Detroit Tigers message board, but I rarely post, and that's sports so it's...er...different.
I can see where message boards are both productive and harmful. I've experienced both. I am happy for the experience, yet relieved I appear to be done. For one, my kitchen is a hell of a lot (okay a little bit) cleaner.