Plain Speaking

If You’re Looking for Sparkling Conversation on the Internet…

…and you’re over the mental age of about three, so you can immediately spot the fallacies and the deadly, mind-numbing sense of boredom and inevitability that are about to play out in chats which start like this:

Person A–I don’t really care for arugula.
Person B–Why are you attacking people who like arugula?

[Generally followed, in the ensuing, incoherent melee, by Person B insisting that Person A, merely by expressing dislike of arugula (or pick any noun), has personally insulted and just tried to “silence” Person B’s own expression of support for her favorite leafy green (or any noun), as down the ever-self-circling, inescapable drain the conversation goes]…

please consider giving Ricochet a trial run.

I’ve been a member of Ricochet for over a decade.  We do have our moments.  And some of us have more of those moments than others.  But the preponderance of intelligent and, yes, “sparkling,” conversation on Ricochet still far outweighs those less-enlightened moments, and is exponentially more uplifting than the regular outbursts of moronic and narcissistic drivel that obtain on so much else of the Internet these days.

I generally write a “Ricoversary” post on or about the anniversary of the date I joined up as one of the ‘charter members.’  Here’s the one from December, 2019. (It was promoted to the main feed, so you can read it on the public Internet.  There’s also a “members-only” feed where the members can mix things up a little more than on the main feed, which is curated by the site’s administrators and editors, who have final say over what appears there.  Ricochet also boasts over 150 special-interest groups, and a fairly robust internal messaging system.  The site’s search engine, to put it politely, and in a word, sucks, though.)

Ricochet isn’t about the politics for me, although many of its members sign up for just that.  For me, Ricochet is about the people, as I say in the last few paragraphs of the post I linked to above:

My interactions with a vanishingly (!) few number of members have been more difficult than I’d like. And I’d be fibbing again, if I said there hasn’t sometimes been some distress about that. It’s not always possible to articulate it while it’s happening, but if I had to net out what I’ve learned, or what we might have taught each other, in hindsight, from those very few experiences, it would be something like this:

One’s investment in an online persona, whether or not it matches reality all that well, should never become paramount in one’s interactions with others. Above all else, we should treat each other as people, and not as a means to an end, as tools for amusement, or as vehicles to entertain and prove ourselves to others. Losing sight of the fact that there are people behind the avatars and the screen names sometimes renders one oblivious to the collateral damage that is caused to flesh-and-blood human beings as we pursue our personal agenda and fun.

I love the fact that Ricochet members put so much effort into the meet-ups, and into establishing IRL relationships between and among ourselves. After nine years on the site, and although it’s difficult, given personal circumstances, for me to travel much, I’ve met dozens of members. I love you all. And I assure you that I am well aware of, and pay attention to the fact that, although one’s online life isn’t actually real; one’s real-life friends, actually, are. I care for you all, cyber-buddies and IRL friends. But my IRL friends, especially. And I hope to make more of you in the years to come.

In retrospect, after nine years, I still think there’s only one significant thing I didn’t realize going in: I thought I was interacting with, and writing to, and for, strangers. I never expected so many of those strangers to worm their way into my affections, to become those people I’d actually meet in real life, and to become those people who matter so much to me. Thank you Peter Robinson, Rob Long, and Blue Yeti, for launching this grand experiment which has changed lives.

I’ve stayed on Ricochet, through all its ups and downs over the years, because that’s where many of my friends, IRL and virtual, are.  It advertises itself as a “community,” and unlike so many that claim the mantle these days, it actually is one.

If anything I’m writing about here rings your bell or piques your interest in terms of what you’re looking for on the Internet, please give Ricochet a look. Here are a few links to recent main feed posts to help you decide if Ricochet might be for you. The proof of the pudding, (as they say) is in the comments as much as, if not more than, it’s in the posts:

And, for anyone who’s wondering–no, Ricochet didn’t ask me to post this, and I don’t get remuneration in any form whatsoever for doing so.  Just spreading the word about a small corner of the Internet which is largely immune from the self-important rubbish, and mind-corroding bilge that is so prevalent elsewhere.

(Ricochet also hosts over 50 podcasts, many of which you can listen to without subscribing to the site.  If you like your doses of the Internet in audio format, please check them out too.)

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