CommunityMy FDL

Watercooler: Online Community

Hi, y’all.

I’ve been on the Internet longer than most people (since a time when there were only two public Internet Service Providers), and before that used to dial in to bulletin board services.

Since we’ve been able to communicate electronically, the desire to build community and connection online has existed. It seems like there is a lot of speculation about how social media is changing human interactions, and I wonder why the speculative futurists penning those sorts of articles don’t spend more time studying Usenet newsgroups, just to name one example. Most of the behaviors we see today are not new; they just occur on a larger scale than ever before (which, admittedly, is new in its own way).

People connect, share, fall in love or create fast friendships with people they have never met and with whom they may never share the same physical space. Of course, just as often people fight and feud, often despite agreeing on many important fundamental issues. This passion is a lot of how we define our identity, but it can also find us in dispute with potential allies — and the Internet seems to exacerbate this tendency as we’ve all observed; I’m no stranger to the belief that I can’t go to bed yet because someone on the Internet is wrong.

When it comes to activism, of course, this behavior’s been around a long time — long enough to be spoofed by Monty Python in 1979.

Thanks for being part of the MyFDL community with me and for welcoming me here in the time I’ve been editing.

This is today’s open thread. What’s on your mind?

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and