I pride myself of having read every single xkcd comic that has been drawn to this day, mostly when I was ill and nothing else to do. I’ll admit that quite a few of them I don’t get (too much advanced physics for me!) and some of them are rather rude, but the others… well, it’s impossible to choose a favourite.
However, if I did have to, I’m rather fond of the ‘Online Communities’ ones.
Here’s the first of them (with the original mouseover text). It’s a bit out of date now (MySpace!) – the data is from 2007. However, I love the idea of being ‘from the Internet’.
Because the internet is massive. It’s huge, and it’s changing every day. Who would have predicted YouTube in the 90s or early 2000s? Who in 2005 predicted that it would become so big?
Until something exists you don’t know it’s coming, and so it’s up to you to think it up before anyone else does.
I love the idea of being ‘from the internet’ because it gives you a sense of shared background if you meet anyone else who identifies themselves in the same way. And you can say to them, “Oh, what part?”, much as you’d say, “So where in England are you from, then?” if you ran into a fellow countryperson while on holiday in some exotic land.
If they’re from the same website – using YouTube as an example – you can strike up further conversation: which vloggers do they watch? Are they a creator or do they just have an account to watch cats falling off things? And so on.
I have a friend, KM, who’s also from the internet. From YouTube, in fact – the only one of my real life friends. We do a lot of weird, nerdy things. However, a lot of our conversations end up being very strange and there are always phrases that, if taken out of context, cause whoever’s sitting nearby to turn around and say, “What?”
Like, “It’s a death frisbee!” in a ridiculously high voice (a la “It’s a pipe bomb!”), or, “To be honest, anything’s better than going naked.” “Yeah, but you’d have the deerstalker,” or … I could go on, but you get the idea.
And so whenever we say something that makes us look at each other with a grin that means CONTEXT NEEDED, we make a ‘bite’ motion with our hands (picture a little shark!) and say, “Soundbite!”
Because if that was one of our vlogs, someone would have isolated that sentence.
Or a stupid face – “printscreen!”
It’s because we’re from the internet, I guess. When we first started the soundbite thing it was weird. Now, it’s a wee bit of a habit.
If you told someone that you were from the internet, and they asked you ‘what part?’, what would you say? And do you have any behaviour derived from forums or videos that doesn’t translate well into real life?
PS – If you want the updated one (without the humorous mouse over text which was the reason for sharing this one!) it’s here, though YouTube and Tumblr are still surprisingly small (to me). Mind you, it all looks big from where you’re standing, doesn’t it?