Largish Internet forums are really bad places to tell mediocre stories about your personal life. Unless you're a great storyteller, you usually get a bad response to going, "Hey everybody, look at me!" and then telling a story about the time you sprained your ankle or the way you cleverly told off a stupid customer at Walmart. Either it has to be about an amazing event ("the time I missed a field goal and lost the Super Bowl") or you have to be an amazing storyteller.
If it's a story about that time you got really drunk/high, you might as well just send your listeners to bed immediately.
Or, option three, you take the spotlight off yourself and let everyone share their stories about sports failures, or emergency room visits, or cats. Everyone can skim around and read the stories they think are most interesting instead of being forced to focus on yours, whether they like it or not. Everybody wins! Unless you didn't want to share the spotlight and wanted all the attention on your story.
In that case, you want to tell a very specific story about yourself and casually invite other people to share stories that fit that very narrow criteria. For example, I could tell a boring story about the time I saw a physician's assistant take a fishhook out of a girl's thigh and then go, "Anyone else who has any fishhook-related stories to share from volunteering in the ER at Alexian Brothers Hospital in San Jose, please feel free to share your stories! I would love to hear them! :D"
"If it doesn't involve a fishhook, I don't want to hear about it!"
Nobody else would have any stories, and any responses would have to be about me and my story. But I technically opened it up to everybody, so I can pretend to be sad and hurt if anyone accuses me of trying to get attention for my boring story.
The best approach, really, is to just start a blog. I know "get a blog" is starting to be an insult to Internet storytellers the same way "get a room" is to ugly affectionate couples, but seriously, it's a great place to practice your storytelling, and people who went there knowing you were going to talk about yourself are probably going to be in a better mood than someone you sprung it on unexpectedly.
A lot of people really want to show their photos online, and many of these people are women. I touched on this in an earlier article about mistakes women make on the Internet, but men can be equally vain.
It's extremely intimidating to post a picture of yourself and honestly state why: "I think I look pretty good. Here's a picture of me. I'd like some compliments if you agree." Maybe other people don't agree, and will rip into you. Or maybe even if they agree, they'll be inclined to rip into you because they don't like giving compliments to someone who feels entitled to them.
It's like telling someone you love them and they just say, "I know."
So people have to come up with excuses to post their photos and pretend they don't think much of their looks. You have to pretend it's about something else. "Here's a really cool hat I have and wanted to show you all. Pay no attention to my face in this picture, it's about the hat. I just woke up so I look awful." Hopefully someone takes the bait and says you look great or compares you to a famous actor/actress. Or if you're confident in your looks, you can just feel pretty good that people got a glimpse of you and are probably impressed, even if they don't reply.
To be even safer, you can add a participatory cover-up, like the "let's hear your stories" thing, where you ask everyone else to post pictures of themselves with hats, or swords, or whatever. Advice to anyone participating in these threads: Please take the price tag off your item before posing with it.
Sometimes people inexplicably turn to the Internet for help with their homework. I don't mean for references, I mean like going onto a forum and saying, "Give me a debate topic!" I wouldn't help them because I believe it is wrong for a student to fail an assignment because some Internet stranger convinced them that George Washington was 200 feet tall and defeated the Kraken. I believe a student should fail on his own merits.
But at least they are honest. It's even more annoying when someone disguises their homework question as some kind of discussion. Something like:
hi everybody I was just thinking last night about Thomas Paine once said, "That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value."
Assignment: Do we value only what we struggle for? Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)
wut do You guys think?
This is why I hesitate to say spanking has no place in child discipline.
Anyway, you guys should be pretty sharp at looking for hidden agendas now, so I'll just spend the rest of this space sharing with you this crazy number puzzle I just found out about.
So today I was looking at my credit card number and I realized the last four digits were the same as my expiration date. Isn't that a crazy coincidence? I've been looking around and I think there's some kind of pattern between everybody's credit card numbers and expiration dates, even if it's not obvious in some cases. Think I'm wrong? Send me your credit card number and expiration date and I'll explain the pattern! I'll bet you $10 I can find it!
Oh, I have a theory about the security code, too, so send that as well.