We went to a friend's house for dinner on Friday. She (and her family) moved here last fall and she's still having a hard time just in terms of not really knowing anyone and missing her old friends. I sympathized and told her that it took at least a year before I really started to settle in here, and it was two or three years before I really had built up the sort of community I need.
One thing I was thinking of later, as I was talking to E.G. about that, is how vital A2K was to me during that time. I was thinking about when I first moved here, and didn't know anyone, but it really applies to my whole time on Abuzz and A2K until the last couple of years. I joined Abuzz when I had recently moved to Chicago and knew nobody -- I stayed in Chicago for four years but the suburb we lived in was really not my kind of place. I had one really good friend but I never really built up a community
, and I need a community.
And it's only in the last couple of years -- really even the last year or so -- that I have that again, here, and I LOVE it. It's the best thing. Haven't really had this since I left Madison in 1997.
Definitely means I have less of a need for A2K than I used to, though I doubt I'll ever fade away completely. Too interested in all of you people and what you're up to.
So the main thing is that I'm spending a lot more time with friends (working out, meeting for coffee, meeting for lunch, meeting for dinner, just plain chatting when we see each other -- the other day I dropped off sozlet at her friend's house for a 3-hr playdate and ended up chatting with the friend's mom for 2 hours of that...) I'm doing other stuff too, but it's stuff I've always done in addition to A2K -- real-life socializing is just taking up more of the A2K niche.
Also doing Facebook and enjoying that a lot -- not a ton of time there, but again it probably cuts in.
In general, while my own participation is definitely reduced, A2K (and Abuzz before it) waxes and wanes -- the dolrums set in, everyone complains, and then there is some new drama or some new influx of really interesting newbies or some technical upgrade, and things tick up again. (I'm not sure I ever see "Wow A2K is just SO FUN right now!!" threads, just the "Damn, A2K USED to be so much better..." threads....