It has just occurred to me that posters on a message board are not really happy people IRL and now I’m brainstorming… thinking of reasons why happy people may feel deterred to participate on an Internet forum.
If real life offered you so much satisfaction as to make you happy, you would not feel the need to resort to a message board.
The experience of using a message board to express your happiness to complete strangers whose reactions may not be exactly congratulatory may leave a bad taste in your mouth (and spoil your happiness).
Sharing your happiness on a message board would not only annoy some people - it may also cause them to think you are insecure and want to feel important.
Chances are you will be regarded as a braggart who uses social media to boast about your achievements.
If you happen to be a nice, happy person IRL, you’d better keep it to yourself and not let it show on a message board.
This message board serves several purposes for me, nearly all of which could be replaced if I had a wide circle of RL friends. The only purposes that this message board is probably irreplaceable for are to gather weird and abstruse information and to have discussions (religious, political, highly personal) that might be too upsetting or uncomfortable in real life. Actually, it also widens my perspective probably more than friends in real life would.
As for whether I’m a happy person or not – eh, I get by.
I will start rather jokingly by stating that if you’re a U.S. citizen, it is your national duty to pursue happiness because if you relinquish it you may set a negative precedent and institute a bad state of affairs for future generations. If today’s people willingly gave up their freedom in favor of an authoritative government, they will abandon not only their own liberty but also the liberty of their descendants and all the generations to come.
And now, on a serious note, I want to point out that pursuing one’s happiness should really be one’s daily preoccupation no matter how dull or grim things may look. People in general should not procrastinate or focus on trifling matters; instead they ought to make the right decisions now so that they can lead meaningful and satisfying lives.
Back to your standpoint, if I understand it well: your implication is that happiness has nothing to do with your posting on SDMB and your participation here is supposed to quench the need for certain information and for certain types of discussions or debates. In this case, two questions come to mind: a) If these needs are satisfied, is there a chance that you should eventually end up being happier? (Which means you may have been less happy or unhappy to begin with.) b) Is the message board an adequate solution to satisfy your needs for education or exchange of ideas, or is it just an imperfect surrogate that may lead to further frustration and inconvenience?
And thus I think we’re left with more questions than answers. Right now I wonder whether an Internet forum can satisfy a fundamental need or it is just another form of escapism…
I have a fairly normal amount of happiness and sadness, in spite of regularly purusing SDMB and a couple of other boards. My tendency is to read the threads that I find interesting and informative (battling ignorance is a good thing), but rarely follow threads where the main purpose is to slam other posters
Really these boards are a kind of hobby, and having a hobby is a great way to stay happy.
I’m happy in my day-to-day life. Coming here makes me even happier. Why is this difficult to understand?
Doubtless there are some unhappy people here. There are some unhappy people everywhere. Would you look at people in a park and conclude that their lives outside the park must be unhappy, or they wouldn’t go there? Or a gym, or a movie theater, or anywhere else people go to?
I’ve been here for twenty years. Though I’ve never been truly happy, I have been both upbeat and content, and depressed and miserable, and most places in between, for extended periods during that time.
I don’t think it means anything. If you don’t use it to vent or find support, you use it to have a laugh and learn about people.
I agree with this. There are posters that seem to find fault with others and never let up. I just click out of those threads. I’ve only peeked into The Pit once - that was enough for me. If someone wants to get snarky with something I’ve posted, I’ve learned not to respond. Not worth it. I enjoy reading the posts in Cafe, IMHO & the Mundane.
I consider myself mostly happy - but of course, there is sadness too. I’m not in my mom’s basement. I usually come to this board when I have some downtime at work.
Conversations on a message board work differently from real life conversations. They involve reading and writing/typing, rather than listening and speaking. They’re not real-time, which means you don’t have to respond to what someone else says right after they say it; you have time to think and consider and weigh your response. They can involve people from all over the world. You don’t get to use facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language, but you do get to use punctuation, smilies, and links.
Online conversations and online relationships can be a substitute for, a supplement to, and/or an alternative to real-life conversations and relationships. They’re not entirely better or worse, but they are different (and in ways that, in general, are more likely to be appreciated by introverts than extroverts).
I have no idea why you think there is any correlation between happiness (or unhappiness) and participation on a message board.
Well, this makes no sense to me. I am pretty happy but for any given topic I might be interested in, there is at least an order of magnitude more people with the same interest on message boards than I know IRL.
I’m curious why you would come to this conclusion. I can’t really think of any reason why this would be so.
I mean at the end of the day a message board is just another leisure activity, like gaming, playing tennis, attending a book club, bird-watching, dancing at clubs, collecting rocks or whittling on your porch. Why would the choice of one hobby vs. any other be any different? Or preclude having dozens of other hobbies? Sure it’s social, but so is attending an Elk’s Club meeting or hanging out at a BBQ. And it doesn’t even have to be that - you can be a lurker, read the board and never interact with anyone. You can be a shut-in for whom this is the only human contact or a social lion where this is just one of many.
I assume you’re just drawing some bright line in the sand between “real” activities and “virtual” ones. But that line blurred some time ago - most now intersect across that boundary. It’s a brave new world ;).