@fear_the_booboo: Yeah it's really difficult to actually roll up a conversation with someone, I agree! I wasn't screwin' around, I actually did send out hundreds of messages.
First off: completely opposite experience for girls than it is for guys. Girls get a dozen messages a day, guys get zero- it's perfectly common! I really had to learn what to expect in my own slow, bumbling way. I felt, though, that the 5 people who replied back always made up for the 50 that didn't. Making a solid positive impression on one person at a time was really rewarding. Once there's that possibility where one or two people really do wanna be around you, I felt like I could lean on the optimistic "They're just busy" and "They stopped signing on" and "I wasn't that interested this time anyway" kind of stuff.My phobias started melting away every time one person liked me back.
Also- judging your performance in stuff like this against girl-friends is something that gave me a lot of anxiety too, but gender stuff is a very big topic that I'll just leave to the side in this thread.
There's a lot of shallow, one-note conversations! It's true! Some people on there are totally empty and don't know how to have a conversation. Personally, that helped me learn how to be more extroverted and hold up my side of things. I had to have some go-to topics to light things up every now n then, and I had to learn how to find the talking-point in my week, and talk about things excitedly. Those were good skills to take out into the real world, though, and I think I really benefited from this obstacle course of boring people.
Also I did meet up with a couple of those people, and it turns out they are just legitimately introverted, shy girls who had the same troubles I had. After seeing that in real life, I wasn't intimidated by getting the cold shoulder any more.
Also there are exciting people who've traveled the world, flown a helicopter, hosted live TV, drove a race-car and all sorts of things. It's a fraction of a fraction of people, but I shotgun it really wide and I did meet up with a few.