Keystrokes echo through the rooms of countless kids, teenagers, and adults as they chat on Whyville. Music plays in the background in some rooms. Others sing to themselves. Others don't even bother to type, thus nothing reverberates through the endless button combinations on their computers. No words form across their screens. Instead, they merely read the sentences their peers have strung together, one word at a time.
Some say the silence comes off snobbish, whereas others suspect it mysterious and suspicious. Quite frankly, I am one of those relatively silent people, which leads me to a confession I need to make: I'm a virtual introvert. Despite the stereotype of shy, socially awkward people coming online to be outgoing and make friends, I believe there are many people who are quite the opposite. Perhaps you are one of these people who find yourself in the same situation: you're loud, outgoing, and maybe even the life of the party in real life, but on Whyville, you clam up.
It's hard for me to make friends online. After pondering the possibilities behind this conundrum, I have realized that it's not social anxiety, but perhaps I am simply exhausted enough from my real life affairs, thus I am too tired to put forth the effort to interact with more people once I go home for the day.
In addition, I feel that it is difficult to make close friends on Whyville who are not designers, as I am a designer. I am in no way implying that I am better than people, because I don't even consider myself famous. I am nothing special. Just a person who needs an art outlet. Simply put, I fear that I am being used. Sadly, I have lost a lot of friends because they just expect stuff for free and only talk about accumulating face parts. I have no radar to detect who will be a real friend to me, and who will attempt to use me. Maybe I've been jaded over time due to bad experiences pertaining to this issue. I feel as if a great deal of designers have this issue, though. Maybe that's why it's so difficult to make an appearance in chat, and why so many designers stick together. Who knows.
What happens when you're a Whyville introvert? Well, it's probably different for every person, honestly. For me, I ignore ymails. I read them all, and some are very hurtful. Being a designer kind of stinks, honestly. It's not all it's cracked up to be. There are some kind and thoughtful ymails, however, and they make me very happy. I am more inclined to respond to cheerful, friendly ymails, because it feels warm and welcoming. Avoiding small talk is perhaps my main motive when it comes to my virtually introverted nature online. I love in-depth conversations, and the "hi, how are you?" conversations stress me out, because I'm not exactly sure what to say. Would you tell a complete stranger about how your life situations are crashing down around you? Likewise, would you tell a complete stranger that you just started dating and you're completely ecstatic? So what's the best answer? You say you're doing well. It's so formulaic that it's tremendously uncomfortable and mundane.
Now, when I say all of these negative things, I do not mean to come off so harshly. I love so many people on here, and I am so thankful to have them as friends. I just like to hide. I hardly come into chat because it exhausts me. I handle it small doses not because I am a snob who thinks I am better, but because I get socially exhausted easily. I have to go recharge in the face factory and draw. I have to hide in chat rooms with 2 other close friends to have more in-depth conversations, because that's my true comfort zone.
I know so many of you are similar, so I want you to know that you're not alone. Whether you're a virtual introvert or an extrovert, there will be ups and downs. Perhaps there will be miscommunications. Awkward moments. Times of laughter. Whatever it is, just know you're all awesome. We all go through the weirdness of learning our social nature, but it's definitely something to embrace!