Back during the halcyon days of the Internet, Craig Newmark, a young web programmer, began a list detailing cool events in San Francisco as a favor to the community. As time passed, the list grew and people used it as the primary method for sharing information about such topics as housing, events, and most notably, jobs. Today Newmark’s creation, Craiglist.org, is the first place people look when they move into one of the more than 40 cities Craigslist covers. Craigslist.org can help you find an apartment, furniture, local events and even friends. And there in lies the real danger of craigslist.
I’ve never had a real problem making friends, but there was a period of time that I found myself spending lots of time on craigslist and meeting the people I encountered online in real life. I was selling some items from my apartment, looking for rides up to tahoe, buying tickets to concerts, and popping in and out of the forums… specifically missed connections, best of and the romance advice forum, and found myself curious about what drove these people to lay themselves bare to complete strangers.
If you’ve never actually read either of those to forums, you owe it to yourself to check them out. Maybe then you’ll understand the magnetic pull the community has on the thousands of people who hang out in the forums. In my case, these people were a traffic accident and I just couldn’t turn away.
I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard at other people’s misery as much as I did when I was addicted to those forums. I don’t mean to come off as callous (cause let’s face it, I am), but the humor people displayed when trying to connect with others is often the most genuine type of humor possible. Also, it proves that I can’t be friends with someone who can’t laugh at themselves.
For shits and giggles, I spent a few hours in those forums and wasn’t surprised to see the random chaos that drew me to the forums in the first place. It is a lot easier to tear myself away now because I live so far away from most of the cities Craigslist serves. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can lurk on occasion.