I have, for a long while now, been addicted to the internet and its online communities. As many of you can imagine, this is not normally a topic about which somebody would want to brag as essentially, in the eyes of many, it is merely an admission of loneliness, geekishness, and social ineptitude.
The general stereotype of someone who is surgically attached to his computer is of a thin, weedy, white boy with no friends who spends his time watching illegal re-runs of Star Trek and various Anime shows on the internet and who never sees the light of day, slowly progressing towards a fat looser who exclusively wears black t-shirts and dies at the age of 34 from lack of higher brain functions.
I admit that I am a thin, weedy white boy but this is a mere co-incidence. Were I to stay outside all day, I would merely be a thin weedy, tanned boy. Internet addiction is no longer a shameful thing. It does not stunt the growth of friendship groups, nor limit ones friends to the nerd community (unless you want it to).
A recent study, made available to yours truly via Twitter care of the fantastical social media news network Mashable (@mashable) in an article available here, has reported on a study (available here) that shows that internet usage does NOT lead to isolation but instead broadens one’s social sphere.
Think about it. How does the stereotype of somebody cut off from the world because they are addicted to the world’s best communication tool add up? In many a blog I have been an advocate of YouTube etc and this is the reason why – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are three massive doorways to meet friends you could never have otherwise and to accomplish feats you could never have dreamed of without their help. Through the internet, I have witnessed:
- People winning a trip to Antarctica so that they can blog about their trip to promote action against Climate Change.
- A teenage boy be propelled to stardom because his mother posted a few videos of him singing for his relatives who couldn’t make it to a school concert of his. Justin Bieber is now in the top 10 on iTunes and is appearing on prime-time TV talk shows so great is his fame that has sprung up over the past two or three months.
- A collection of young people come together to help the RNLI and to raise money for them via YouTube.
- Four teenage boys attempt to get a UK number 1 hit using people who wanted to audition via the internet. (This project is currently still running, see more of it here)
- People come together to try and rescue an abducted child by constantly re-Tweeting the licence plate of the car he was last seen getting into.
- Iran’s public campaign for free speech and the right to publish information about the violence carried out during the recent riots about their presidential elections. A few months ago, people turned their profile pictures green on Twitter to show support for a democratic and free Iran. The sea of green faces and logos was innumerable.
Those are just a few of the many amazing stories I have seen and been a part of over the past few months. How awesome is that?
So throw away your prejudices on this matter, we e-warriors are becoming the cutting edge of society by pushing back the barriers that restrict the size of a community. There is a group, nay a TRIBE of us. We are the nerdfighters. We work to eliminate world-suck and we rock.
Observe the sheer power of video editing. This montage of clips creates an impossibly catchy song – only from random clips of people talking on TV or Films. Awesome, non?