I am becoming more and more convinced that I am wasting my life. I was looking back at my comment history on Disqus and for some reason, I find myself enjoying what I write. Not everything I write survives the test of time, but often comments do. They are pithy, to the point, and usually well-reasoned. However, as much as these do correct error or add to the body of knowledge on a particular forum, I don’t think they are actually successful. I don’t think they succeed in actually motivating people to change their minds or correct their behaviors. I think people simply reject being called out and reject information that contradicts their biases. So while leaving these comments satisfies my need to express truth, what good is it if it is not actually working? I have become really good at doing something useless.
I never have been someone really interested in getting into page-long back-and-forths. I did that initially, but I gave that up to just dropping by and giving my input. I’m not real sure that going back to the back-and-forth will be helpful. I think the only way to do this is to be online who I am in person, to align the two halves, and by this I mean to be respectful and kind to people with whom I disagree online. I have done that before, to try to understand where they come from, but honestly I lose patience because I see the same foolishness repeated over and over again, a kind of lazy acceptance of whatever is around, instead of an active and curious pursuit of truth. You know the type — the kind that declaim people using the Bible as an authority while they regurgitate everything CNN poops out. It’s annoying, frustrating, and in the end, I gave up when I have done it. Now I remember. I have tried that before. I never could tell that what I did made any difference at all. It was like talking to brick walls all day. If I was going to do that, I might as well cut to the chase, leave after speaking, and block with abandon.
Still, there has to be a better way to do this — to become effective at communication online, and not just be a master orator in empty stadiums.