On Being Background Noise

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I would act surprised that cats are ignoring me too except they always do that because cats are jerks like that. Dogs for life! (Incoming dogs vs. cats war.)

It’s no secret that I love the internet, and that I love communicating on the internet. And I never put much thought into why, until now. When I think about it, I think it’s because people actually pay attention. Words that you type or speak a camera can’t be interrupted.

In person it’s not uncommon for me to be the listener. Many conversations I have with others consist of me occasionally adding a sentence in here and there every ten minutes, and the rest is listening. While I have no issue with this, that’s not the only reason I do. I don’t know what it is, whether it be my voice, my volume, body language or whatever else, but it seems as though people genuinely could not care less about what I have to say.

It used to be that I would occasionally get interrupted while I was in the middle of something. I’d have to get things back on track, but I finally thought, okay. Next time I’m interrupted I’ll just go silent until they ask me to continue. That way they have to consciously acknowledge that they are the reason I stopped talking…

…but that never happened. I could be in the middle of anything, get interrupted, then would never be asked to continue. Conversations would carry on like normal. I realized that people never even cared in the first place that I was saying anything at all. It was never, “Sorry, let me break in really quick, this is important,” it was just a Thing people did — and still do — as though I hadn’t even been speaking. Like I’m just background noise.

Online you’d think that I was a totally different person. I have many more followers than I ever thought I would, people pay attention to what I say, I receive letters telling me what a good speaker I am and how much they enjoy seeing my perspective. I can ramble on a subject and people will share it and favorite it. I get people asking me to talk about issues because they want my point of view, people asking me for advice, total strangers coming to me asking for help or insight. Me. They ask me for insight. Why me?

It’s so weird dealing with such polar opposites. I speak no different online than I do in person, so I don’t know what it is apart from being unable to be interrupted. When you read this, I’ve already finished. When I upload a video, I’ve already done all my talking. You can choose not to reply, certainly. But you can’t stop me from speaking.

Occasionally I wish real life mirrored the internet, at least in terms of being shown certain respect. But if I really need to look on the silver lining, I’m okay being the listener. I always have been. As an introverted person, that’s what I do. It’s not like I have so much to say all the time anyway. But this has all certainly played a part in making me who I am today. Whether I’m happy with that or not I don’t yet know.

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3 thoughts on “On Being Background Noise

  1. While I agree with what you are saying (except for the fact that I think cats are better than dogs) I also think that part of the reason is that people go online to search for things they are interested in. When people read your posts or watch your videos it is because they want to hear what you’re saying about a certain topic. In face to face conversations, people interrupt because they either aren’t interested in the topic or where the conversation is heading. Though, I will admit there are some people who interrupt just to hear the sound of their voice. 🙂

    1. That’s a fair enough point, though a lot of people follow me despite me posting on a variety of topics, I don’t really have one thing that people come searching for; that and they request my point of view on a subject before they even know what it is yet. xD And unfortunately, in real life, strangers are often more attentive to what I’m saying than friends are. >_> You’d think friends would be interested in what I had to say sometimes.

      1. For me, I follow you because I enjoyed some of your posts about writing and thought I might enjoy other topics you post about. (Which I have.)

        I have no explanation for the requests though. Maybe you’re the exception to the rule? Of course I may have forgotten the human element when coming up with my theory. After all, humans just don’t make sense.

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