Here’s a guest post from Gabi, who apparently likes the internet. You may remember her from this post from way back in June. I’m still not sure what it’s about, but that doesn’t subtract from its guesty goodness.
Alright. So I’m just a touch nervous, because this is all of my second guest post ever and La Stranezza has actual, you know, followers. That’s intimidating. Um. So.
It is a fact universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a great library must be in want of a life. I have more books than I have shelf space. I have taken to storing the things under and on top of my piano, on my windowsill, in desk drawers, backpacks, lockers, other people’s lockers, other people’s backpacks, teachers’ bookshelves – you get the point. I’ve run out of room. And I’ve read every single one. I’m widely considered to be the geekiest person in any room I enter, regardless of who else is there. My ceiling has a TIE fighter and a dragon hanging from it, and on my closet door is a map of a world that doesn’t actually exist in this universe (all bets are off if you consider the multiverse, though). I’m a geek.
Now, in my school, which is tiny – 220-some kids total, in all four grades – geekiness is largely considered something weird. It’s the kind of place where the topics are makeup (girls), sports (guys), and guns (both genders). My friends there are all people who are geeks about something, although not necessarily anything I understand, because otherwise we’d have no one with whom to talk. There’s me, the music and literary nerd; Baustin, the Japanophile; Blake, the robotics geek; Chase, the video game guru; and Matt, the generally-nerdy. Our categories have developed definite overlap after two and a half years of hanging out, but still. Eyes glaze over whenever any one person starts going on about their particular field of interest too long. If we had a different or larger pool of people with which to associate, then I doubt we’d have ever started hanging out. But we were limited in our choices, because there isn’t a lot a freshman can do to influence the school his parents choose for them. The people we ended up with was more or less random.
Now compare that group of people with the internet. Suddenly, you’ve got infinite people. Or maybe not infinite, but way more than the average person is ever going to be able to even start to get to grips with. There are sub-communities on a fractal level. To find people, all you have to do is start looking for stuff you like, and boom. People. This is awesome, for a person like me. I’ve found people who are interested in meta, postmodern stuff, TV Tropes, Neil Gaiman, Sherlock, random creepy stuff, bullshitting, Italo Calvino, writing, and theater. I’ve found people who like all of that. (You know who you are.) I’ve met people who would not only not think my mild obsession with math is weird, but get into discussions with me about Euler’s Jewel. I can talk to people about the awesomeness of obscure postmodern writers and they will completely get it. That’s something I could never have with the limited selection I’d get without the internet.
I know there are reasons why the internet shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of social interaction. For one, fresh air is a good thing. For another, you need to interact with other people to get ice cream, usually. But for people like me, who are a completely different genre than those they are surrounded by, the internet is amazing. Like, for real. I’ve met people who scoff at me for using the internet to find friends, claiming that ‘There’s nobody but creepers there,” or that “You’re going to get a stalker.” These are the same people, of course, who met their best friend in kindergarten when they kicked each other in the shins during a game of tag. I never got on with kids my age, so that wasn’t an option. The internet was.
And as for the gaining a stalker, so far, I haven’t. I’ll admit that it’s possible that I could – my real name is here, on this blog. But I could get a stalker walking down the street. Actually, I did get one, in RL, once, but that’s another story. Everyone I’ve met online has been perfectly lovely, by and large. Some of my best friends live in states that I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been to. My best friend for four years lived in Washington, and I didn’t even know what his face looked like. But we meshed way better than any of the kids I met then, through the even smaller pool of kids I met whilst home schooled. It’s been the same ever since.
The internet connects us to the world. We can meet anyone, and do. We nerds and geeks gain more friends, and better, through the internet than most of us ever could just wandering through life, going where the current takes us. I know it’s different once college starts, and suddenly there’s a whole new world of people to meet, but for now, the internet is that other world, for me. ‘Going out and socializing’ is a bit of an oxymoron for me at times, because if I want to socialize, I type. I think this is where the world is going, relationships happening more and more through the internet, people meeting people who understand. Loners and geeks and nerds – people who would normally be outcasts – can have a whole life separate from that which happens in three dimensions. It gives a different meaning to the term ‘Second Life.’