Title? You Can’t Handle the Title!
I have no idea whether or not this is going to end up in countless inboxes with the subject heading “New Post: So on and so forth,” so in the event that this is the case, I would preface this with the most heartfelt apology, and it won’t happen again.
I’m not a blogger. I never have been, and the necessity to actually have an account or website or blogging tool is just too much. Remembering passwords for different websites, and which email you used to sign up to them – it’s just horrible. While I’m all for any opportunity for a writer to get his or her material out into the world, because that’s how they make the money, the mere act of signing up for this or that imposes too much pressure on me as a writer. There’s an obligation, which for me, stifles any creativity I have.
Deadlines are fine. I can work to deadlines. I haven’t left the education system since 1993, and in that time I’ve been subjected to almost every type of assessment you can imagine. I have wedged myself into cold plastic seats for hours at a time, trying desperately to explain the formation of cholesterol from isoprene units. I have written essays, I have done group work, theoretical research, logged more lab hours than I care to remember, and hidden myself away from the world in a fortress built from academic publications (it was a small fortress, obviously. Kind of like Noddy’s House-for-One, if he were under siege from the rest of Toytown).
But a self-imposed sense of obligation ruins me. The thought that every day, I should sit down somewhere, and write on a topic (or no topic at all) just drains any voice I’ve developed over the years.
So I will state again that this is no blog, no journal. This is simply taking the opportunity to say that online communities like this one rule.
Quite a few years ago now, I was a member of a gaming site, which I was only familiar with because they were the first people to tell me how to use the W-Item Materia to clone my megalixirs. This was when the Internet was new to me, when dial-up modems were at the forefront of technological advancement. I didn’t have one, but my best friend did, and he introduced me the website that would ultimately shape my views on online communities for years to come.
I was a boy of only eight or nine, I’d only recently moved from the Sega Master System II to a Sony Playstation. Final Fantasy VIII was one of the first games I had played, and I just could not beat the giant spider that jumps off the roof of the Dollet Communications Tower. So, under the instruction of my friend, I turned to the Internet, and found my answer.
Eventually, I signed up an account, and began writing reviews for games I had played (we’ve jumped ahead to 2007, not too long after the release of the Playstation 3). I’d study during the day, and review games in the evening. After making the leap from being a casual reviewer on this site to an avid forum-goer, I had found my people.
Friends, who I only knew through screen-names, who possessed unique senses of humour, and common interests. Friends who, over time, I came to know not as online avatars, but people. People who would ask real questions, who would seek advice, who would tell you that they were going to propose to their girlfriends, and need to be coached through the panic attack. People who were no longer friends, but brothers and sisters. A family that you choose for yourself, who will judge you as harshly as any blood-relative, and yet still give you incredible support.
This is the magic of online communities. They bring people together in ways that would have been unimaginable fifteen years ago. The sheer prevalence of them in the modern day should boggle the mind.
Now, I haven’t been on that gaming site in years. There were necessary changes required in my life that meant I couldn’t spend all of my time inside talking to people who understood my fascination with video games. Returning to it after an extended hiatus was kind of like being Brooks in The Shawshank Redemption. Advertisements were everywhere, and trolls would pop up with unfortunate regularity. Most of the good posters had moved on, and got married. The community had changed, and because I hadn’t been there to see it change, I didn’t fit in there anymore. There was no place for me.
Then, I found Ogeeku. Perhaps, in a serendipitous twist, I was introduced to SMBC Comics through a forum post on that old warhorse of a gaming site, which led me to discover SMBC Theater, and finally here, to the pet project of our Fearless Leader. And it is awesome. From the livestreams at Twitch and chilling in the chat, to the livestreams at YouTube, to the Legend of Korra recaps I find in my email inbox (which I always had to avoid reading until after I’d seen the episode), Ogeeku is cool.
It’s been a long, lonely trek through the hills and valleys of the Internet, these past few years. But I’ve found my people again.