About a week ago or so, my three year anniversary in the chat rooms came and went with as little fanfare as possible. In the years gone by, I would be happy as a pig in mud to celebrate my stick-to-it-ness to something I truly enjoyed.
But now, in 2010, it's more like yah. Why the attitude change? Well, for one thing, as much as it pains me to admit it, the past solid year of stalking and harassing has wore me down to the point that I decided to move my base of operations to a better cyber triangle: blogs, e-mails & Facebook.
And why not? Most of my long term friendships from the chat rooms have moved over to Facebook and some of those I have addys to, so I talk to them via the e-mail as well. And while I was starting to make the transition to blogging back in '08, I accelerated the process in '09, so by the beginning of '10, I was ready to make the disconnect from the chat rooms.
I originally thought it would be difficult to do, as I did make a whole boatload of friends while participating in the chat rooms. But overall, I just got tired of dealing with the stalking and harassing, so if certain people want to see this as capitulation, then fine. Either way, I'm doing things on my terms, and in the end, that's all that really matters.
I need to deal with normal adults, and blogs, e-mails and my version of Facebook does it for me. Dealing with people who find of perverse joy out of stalking and harassing others is not my idea of dealing with adults. That's just dealing with toddlers.
I've basically found decent replacements for all the chat threads I used to participate on:
1} Social threads? Blogging and Facebook.
2} Catching up with friends? Facebook, e-mails and blogging.
3} Writing and writing tips? Blogs and Facebook.
4} Topical? Blogs.
So as I see it, the triangle of blogs, e-mails and Facebook has replaced the hypocritical chat rooms. Unlike the chat rooms, where the owners claim to have a Terms of Service, but really selectively enforce it, you can control your blog, your Facebook and your e-mail from undesirables.
With your blog, you can make it open and available, open but with an adult rating (like FSG) that you must accept before you can proceed, open by invitation only, you can make your blog unavailable to the search engines, or a combination of all those things. Same goes with Facebook. You can make your page as open as all get out, with having the search engines find you. Or you can make it private so that no search engine can find you, either internally or externally. Same goes for e-mail. You can make it as private or as open as you so choose.
At one point, yes chat rooms were great for meeting people, debating and honing my writing skills. Now it's simply a severe waste of time and a great inducer of stress.
To put it more bluntly, if chat rooms floats your boat, they won't be really floating mine anytime in the near future.