I’ve been wondering lately why the heck it is that people bother getting it together to get stuff online? All over the interweb there’s an explosion, an veritible 2nd printing press revolution as it were, of people typing all kinds of crap about all kinds of meaningless blather and bunging it out there for you and I to read. Or ignore. With some stuff, ignore is best.

And damn there’s a lot of it. The interweb is overflowing with every angsty teenagers thoughts on life, every amateur economist’s opinions on the housing market, every “thinking, go-to man’s” ways to make money or transform your business, and every even slightly obsessive-compulsive informant putting their world-view, or, umwelt don’t you know, up and out there for friends, strangers and acquaintances to consume.

If you thought about it too much it might become a little overwhelming.

But there must be a reason for it right? Sure the interweb is great because the people who like using it, or more accurately like taking advantage of it, are the types who like to give stuff away. And do they what. The electronic sphere, or… “electronosphere”, is full of people trying to force-feed you information, knowledge, experience, data, anecdotes, tales, pictures, products and… porn. Let’s not forget what got this whole ball rolling.

The question I always ask myself though is, with all this “stuff” floating around for consumption, who the hell do I trust? Mostly I go to a site, read what someone has to say for awhile, if it looks interesting I put them on RSS, and, if nothing good comes through the feeder I just go to unsubscribing. After all, life’s too short to read crap poetry or stories about things I wouldn’t actually converse with someone about. I don’t care about your cat’s haemorrhoids…

The problem then is how do I acknowledge that someone has (or ‘is’) a good site? People often invest a significant about of their own energy and themselves into their sites, so who do I reward that? Sure, I can comment, engage other commenters, refer and/or make linky-love. But I genuinely feel like I’d be able to do something </non-monetary> more.

I guess that’s just part of the enigma of the interweb though. It’s hard to know exactly who is reading you and why, and it’s hard to let people know that you’re a reader or fan. Unless you’re willing to invest a considerable amount of time in becoming close to someone over the net, then the relation between yourself and that other user will never really indicate how much they’ve influenced you or how much their work is appreciated.

Mind you, I do find myself feeling close to others on the web. At least twice now the death of another user has profoundly effected me. So it’s not as if the connection is entirely superficial. However, it does have to build over time, just like a friendship or relationship (actually, I’m not sure why I separated those two. A relationship should be a friendship!) And it’s the complex way in which interweb interactions play out that’s so interesting.

My question for the universe today is, how, what and why makes you trust someone or their site over others?