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Before I dig into this any further I want to make it known that the question I am about to pose is IN NO WAY intended as an insult to anyone on these or other forums. I've just been doing a lot of thinking about this issue and wanted to see what others' ideas are.

Why do you belong to, and spend the amount of time you do, on one or multiple forums?

I'll give you my honest and blunt answer.

Although I've been known to have a whacky sense of humor and found it very easy to carry on a conversation with almost anyone when I was younger, especially a kid, the older I get I find that I don't necessarily "fit in" to any particular social settings and I've gotten quite a bit more reserved and withdrawn as I've gotten older. I have one friend with whom I talk to on the phone and visit with face-to-face maybe only 5 or 6 times a year; we live 40 miles apart, she has her family, I have mine, and we both lead otherwise busy "household" lives.

A few years ago when I joined Cat Forum I was initially looking for a place "to belong" where I could talk with others who shared my love for cats. As my time here grew, I really fell away from cat discussion and enjoyed conversing about other everyday things that some of us share in common. Belonging to an internet forum makes me feel like I have dozens of friends all over the place and "takes me away," if you will, from reality. Another thing is that it's nice for me to not leave the comforts of home to talk with others and I don't have to worry about keeping up appearances to see other people.

However, joining Cat Forum took a lot of guts for me to do. I read posts for quite some time before I got up the nerve to actually join. I've been invited to other forums and have tried some of them but it's my reserved nature and uncomfortableness with getting to know new people that has kept me from "belonging" anywhere else.

Having said all that, I do miss personal interaction with "the girls." My maid of honor's husband is in the military and is now stationed in Italy until sometime in 2011 or 2012, the relationship with my longtime childhood friend fell apart as we got older and I just don't really talk to anyone else except for my husband, kids and my mom.

Working from home also prevents the little bit of social interaction I used to have with co-workers in the office.

I was tickled pink when Jeanie found the knitting video for me so I could "self-teach" knitting again but I wish I had the resources in this area to actually join a knitting group. There really is no such thing around here. My church group does get together once a week to quilt (the finished product gets donated to the poor) but all of those women are elderly. I don't mean to sound callus, but I'm only 33 (almost 34) and really would like to find something for my age.

For now, my little bit of personal contact with others is when we attend church (which we tend to be lax on during the summer :oops: ) and taking the kids to the park, etc. I'm really hoping that as the kids begin school they become involved in other extracurricular things that allows me to meet some other classmates' parents, etc., and I end up finding something else to do besides veg out in front of my computer or watching TV. I enjoy talking with all of you about tons of things but I feel isolated at the same time.

OK, now that I finally got to the guts to post this, I'd better get back to work. That's the BIG downside of working at home and having access to the Internet at the same time. My mind tends to shift focus throughout the day and my productivity decreases.

Please share your thoughts on this question.
 

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I do it because I want to. Sorry if that's too short, it's the only reason I need.

I eat, I sleep, I work, I go out and do stuff, it's just that the majority of my time at home is spent on places like this. ( I also belong to an F1 forum and an online racing forum).
 

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I don't have one single friend for 350 miles, and know no other cat lovers. Life gets a little lonely. This is the only forum I belong to, but I use instant messages and have a favored chat room. I spent hours on each. I don't get along with people all that well, I don't like stupidity or arguments. Here I can pick and choose what I'll respond with or to.
 

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I do it to pass the time at work, I rarely get on at home.

I lurked on catforum from about the time catman started it in the fall of 2002. I then joined many months later out of enragement at some of the opinions I read here. :lol:

I also belong to a many Jeep/Offroad/4x4 sites, but am not active on them much anymore. The only other board I frequent other than CF is actually a spinoff of one of those boards. A core group of longtime members like myself had grown tired of the whole Jeep technobabble and hung out in the off topic sections for many years until we were all eventually banned by a green admin on a power trip (they bought the board and decided to 'clean' it up). We started our own board just last month and already have 400 members. :mrgreen:

Although I try to distance myself, I do find myself getting very caught up in a lot of the interaction. It can be scary at times.

But, make no mistake about it, I do love teh catforum. :wink:
 

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I have been on and off forums since 2001 when I joined a depression support forum. It felt so nice to talk to other people who understood me. I kind of outgrew that forum and found a cocker spaniel forum about 2 1/2 years ago.

I love the cocker spaniel forum and have learned a lot. I have even watched the birth of several litters via webcam. I spend a lot of time there, but much less since I found this forum.

The main reason that I participate on forums is because I am not great with face to face interaction. If I try small talk I just stumble on my words and often make little sense :oops: . At least on the forum I have the delete button.

Besides, it is so cool so to talk to people from around the world!
 

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I am with you. When I was younger (and I mean back in high school because I am only 21 now) I was VERY outgoing, didnt care what anyone thought... had a million friends, always out doing something.
Now, I never do anything. I think choosing Engineering as a major has matured me SUPER fast. Plus. my boyfriend is the same way. We live together and right now he is in the other room sitting on his laptop doing whatever it is he does in there.

I'm not that great at having friends either. I am the type to have a couple good friends. My best friend lives in North Carolina. I might see her once a year. And talk to her once every 3 months. Friends that expect to much from me never last. Friends that get mad at me because I didnt answer my phone, or I didnt call them back, or I didnt want to go out and hang out with them never last long. I have to have friends that have their own lives and realize that you do too. I would say here in Orlando I have 2 friends besides my bf. One I rarely talked to (she also moved in her her bf and they do their thing) and another because he is my same major and in ALL of my classes.

I always say I feel old because I work, go to class, come home and do hw if I have it, make dinner, feed the animals, sit in here on the computer and go to bed. And on the weekends I clean and grocery shop. As a 21 year old I think that's pretty rare. I rarely drink and if I do it's very relaxing, like at home or with dinner. I am not the crazy college partier. I dont "fit in" that crowd at all! I got all that over with in High School.

So, you are not alone. I feel the same way. The only difference is I am not really unhappy about it. It sounds bad but the majority of people are just so stupid. :roll: And I am not the type of person who can act fake, so I cant pretend to be someones friend. And I dont do stuff if i dont want to. I know a lot of people who feel liek they HAVE to go do something if someone asks them to. I probably sound like I think I am better than people but I mean seriously, there are some ignorant people out there :!:

Oh, and most people don't love kitties like me either. They think I am crazy. I am also a part of forums for guinea pigs, hamsters and mice just because I have all of those and think its helpful when u have a question. But this is the only one I check every day and post stuff like this, not even pertaining to cats :oops:

I definitely "fit in" here.
 

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What a neat question!

The short answer? I'm nuts.... lol!
Well that's part of it.

I have crippling social anxiety syndrome, panic disorder, depression and agorophobia, all worsened by an obnoxious spinal disease. It doesn't bother me to admit all that.
Off line people horrify me, lol!!!
I started joining forums when I was looking for a border collie rescue, I lurked for a while. Then popped in a conversation. I found people to be very nice, so I decided to look for a cat forum since I have a love of cats. I joined here, I lurked, then began posting when I first got Nala.
It's nice to be part of a community that doesn't run screaming when you say you have a bunch of cats :lol: And it's nice to "talk" with people who understand why it's good to rescue and foster.

I pretty much have no life outside of my house and computer. I don't drive and I have a service dog. Having her is a blessing, but at the same time a burden. I have found a lot of people (when i do go out to try to be social) are really put off by the fact I have to bring a dog EVERYWHERE with me. It weirds them out I guess.

So I spend a lot of time on forums. Well really just this forum, left dog forums because all they do is fight. I'm happy and as healthy as I can be given the circumstances :lol:


And besides... I don't have to actually get all dressed up for you all, because Lorna actually getting all dressed up would surely traumatize the cats...
 

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chaoticborders said:
I pretty much have no life outside of my house and computer. I don't drive and I have a service dog. Having her is a blessing, but at the same time a burden. I have found a lot of people (when i do go out to try to be social) are really put off by the fact I have to bring a dog EVERYWHERE with me. It weirds them out I guess.
Now, see, I would see that as a POSITIVE!!
 

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Well, I showed up here when I was looking for help when Callie was sick with IBD. I stuck around because I liked the people I met here. Then, of course, the whole forum was involved in "watching Holly grow" and by then I was pretty well entrenched.

At the time I was doing a LOT of traveling for work and phasing out of volunteering for the local shelter due to my travel schedule as well as changes and personalities that were going on there. So I needed people to talk cat with. I also saw the forum as an opportunity to continue 'volunteering' and helping cats even though I was no longer involved with the shelter.

I guess I have more of a social life than some of you have talked about, but I really like my alone time. If social activity gets really busy, I tend to withdraw and really look forward to time on my own. I have my laptop set up on the living room couch, so if I'm relaxing and watching TV, it's always in my lap.
 

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i can take bits and pices from most of the post and it would be the same for me lol. im a loner. i dont have a job right now i never keep jobs i just cant stand people lol i love working but the people get to me. i have no kids just aniamls. i have one freind from high school but i rarely see or talk to her she is busy working and has 2 kids.

the first forum i visted was mostly fighting so i didnt realy care for it than i found the newfy forum and the people there were so nice and well i always said i would never meet anyone off the internet but that went out the window with the newfy forum and i enjoy meeting them.

than i thought well if there is a nice forum than maybe there is more so i looked for a cat one found this one and have stayed around lol i also joined alot of others but rarely vist them anymore. this forum and the newfy one are the only 2 that i try to check daily.
 

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I lurked for a while to figure out why daizy had decided that everything in the house was her personal litter box! I learned a great deal about different cat litters and now she only uses "actual" litter boxes! I became a member in 2006 but never posted till later on. I still don't post a whole lot but I usually read every new post! 8O

I love the internet, but I'm very careful about it. I've been technically online since I was 11 (wow that was a long time ago) back when AOL was just starting and dial-up was all that you could get at home. I have friends online and off but sometimes its just nice to chat at home in your pjs than it is when you have to dress up and deal with traffic. I only have 6 friends in town, and the rest live way outta state so I use the internet and forums to stay connected to them.

I love this place and for as long as its up I'll be here. Oh and if anyone EVER needs to chat about anything at all, I'm a great listener and I'm here for all of ya'll!
 

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This is the only forum I am very active on. There is a feline leukemia group I became involved with when I found out Buzz was positive but is is more e-mail based. From there I started looking for another cat group and found this one.
I was very involved with my two children as they were growing up. Cub Scout den mother, on the Boy scout committee, little league baseball, participating parent in the high school drama club. Durilng all that time I never made any close woman friends. I have worked in lumber yards and in the construction industry, so there were not usually opportunities to make female friends at work. I get along great with the guys but it's just not the same. I have 1 girlfriend from high school who lives quite a distance away-we call each other on our birthdays, and another close friend that lives about 30 miles away. One of my sons left for college in 2005 and the other the year after. The empty nest syndrome hit me extremely hard. My husbands health is not good and he is relatively anti-social. So you see, I tend to be a pretty lonely person. I have joined a body sculpting group that meets two times a week, and tomorrow I will start volunteering at a rescue. In the meantime, this group has been my main social focus. I really enjoy most of the people in this group and have found myself thinking about the people here and careing very much about the things that are going on in their lives that they talk about. The variety of ages, geography and socioeconomic groups makes this even more interesting and fun. Maybe this ole broad is a little lame, but I really enjoy and appreciate you guys and gals!
 

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I had forgot to mention one other group I was with for a while, it was a support forum for parents of active duty/deployed Marines. My son is a United States Marine. They were a lot of help but I seemed to be the only dad in the group and believe me when I say, folks...

...Proud Marine mothers are the most anxious, neuroitic bunch you'd ever want to meet, but understandably so. Semper Fi.

 

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I lost count of the number of forums I'm on. :lol: *is a loser*

Really though, I join forums just to make new friends and new connections and to talk to people who are passionate about the same things that I am. I don't have many friends out in the real world, I don't get out much, don't have much money. My family all lives several hours away and I don't really see them (or get along with them all that well for that matter - but that's another story). All I do is work and go to college (in fall/winter). My boyfriend does the same. We play games together and share mutual friends online. It's a way for us to bond too.

The first forum I ever joined was a hockey forum for the Detroit Red Wings. I've been a member there since 2004. The people there are great and I love seeing different perspectives on issues concerning the Wings and the NHL, and also just to chat about anything like you all do here in the Lounge (it's called the Water Cooler there).

I joined a forum for a TV show I enjoy last October and the friends I have made there have become like a family to me. It's amazing. In a couple of weeks a couple of them are coming to visit me. I can't wait to meet them.

I joined here because I love cats, I have loved them all my life. I stumbled upon it by accident, really. I was looking for pictures of Russian Blues to show to my friend from the TV show forum, and somehow I got led here. I lurked for about a day before I joined and I'm glad I did. You all seem like such wonderful people and I look forward to getting to know you all better. :)

Every forum I'm on has people on it who share a love for something with me. And they all end up developing into lasting friendships :)
 

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That's a wonderful OP, Jo, and I can understand where you're coming from on all that. :)

Some of that I can identify with. I don't have much social contact in my real life. When I was working, my relationships were principally with my coworkers because the type of work I did took me away from home frequently for extended periods of time, putting me with my coworkers. After I had to stop working, the state of my health made it difficult to participate in activities with others. I've always been somewhat of a loner by choice, anyway. I just don't need that much contact.

When personal computers came around, I dived in and found something I could spend a lot of enjoyable time on, and discovered a way to have contact with others through special interest groups on CompuServe (which were the forrunners of today's forums, and one the earliest "networked" bulletin boards.) So when I got my first cats, and needed advice, I naturally came online to find out what I needed to know and found it by tapping the experience and wisdom of others who knew more than I, and also began participaing in the online community.

The Cat Forum isn't the only forum I belong to. I also participate on another cat forum (lower case--I can't identify it here), moderate on a personal finance forum, and belong to perhaps a dozen or more other forums just for information purposes. I guess I sort of consider the Cat Forum (upper case) to be my "home" forum, and it's where I'm most comfortable. Though I'm in the process of trying to get my own forum started, so I may be moving in the near future. I like heated debates on controversial topics, and that's not permitted here. But Cat Forum will always be my "first" even when I stray. :D
 

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I joined cat forum for information. I must have joined 3 or for other cat forums and posted my questions, but only this one provided me with useful answers, so I've stuck with the one, the only, the original, Cat Forum.
I like spending time around people who love cats as much as I do.

I belong to a dog forum for the same reason. At one point I was active on three dog forums, but there's just one that I post on now. IMO, there are lots of forums on the web, but few truly GOOD forums. Cat forum is one of those good ones, and I'm glad I found it.

As to why I spend so much time online, its because I'm addicted. I've actually been working on this for the past year and am much better. I'm spending more time out in the real world with real people than I am on the computer these days.
 

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I visit quite a few forums - mostly religious/faith forums as well as gardening and education forums. Many of the people I've met on those happen to be animal lovers too. I began participating because I love to LEARN and share what I know.

The friendships that I've formed is priceless. So many of us call and email regularly. Over the years, we've banded together and supported a friend through Katrina and just recently another friend who lost everything to flooding in Wisconsin. It's been an honor to get to know these people. I'm happy that I've been able to meet 3 of them too!

I'm fairly active on a couple of pet forums, but my heart is always with CATS! I ran across this place and really love it. Cat people are just DIFFERENT!! I love the photos as much as the discussion - and the things I've learned is amazing. I wish I had done more research and run across this place back when my first kitty was alive. You ALL have proven to be an enormous support when something happens to our pets. It really makes a difference.

I'm lucky that I work with great teachers and I'm able to share what I learn with them and our students. Anytime we can interject kindness and compassion to animals is a huge plus.
 

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Jo, great question :)

I joined Cat Forum when I adopted Pumpkin and Pepper and needed advice on integrating them into a house with a resident cat (Snickers R.I.P.). I liked the people here and enjoyed talking with other cat lovers. And I learned what an incredible resource this forum is! We have a diverse group with a wide range of knowledge.

I was also curious about how online communities work -- something I need to know about as a mom and a teacher. Gotta stay on top of what the kids are into!

This is the first forum I joined, and it's the only one I participate in. I have a really busy life with family, friends, activities, and travel, plus I went back to work full-time last Sept. after being a stay at home mom and finishing my Master's.

I really don't have the time or interest for other forums right now, and this place works well for me :D
 

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I joined a forum and did searching for other forums when I needed information on kitty asthma. I stick around because I learn something new everyday be it home remedies, new toys whatever. I have friends and they accept my critter love but can not share as much as I need. So I spend time on line as well.
 
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