It struck me, looking through the Power Soccer forum like I always do a couple of times a day. Found a thread started by Powdersnow called “Presentation thread” where he encouraged everyone to write about themselves, age, occupation, favourite food and tv-series and colour, name and whatever else that anyone might want to know.
And I started reading through the answers, page up and down with people gathering, communicating. There was a 10 year old from Hong Kong, someone named George from Greece, Sipwell of course, a 12 year old from Tirana and hundreds of others. Seven pages, 340 replies. Everyone so eager to share, to get the chance to learn more about the friends and co-players of PS.
I got to think about my son Lewis and how he, the other day, with great pride in his voice shouted that his post was “post of the day” on his favourite forum. Needless to say he’s an active member and this forum is like the centre of his universe. “Everyone will read this! It’s the top post!”
The topic of the thread itself might not be that important, but the look on his face, his self esteem boost… not to mention his improved social skills and English vocabulary… that matters a lot.
Imagine that. Being able to write something you care about and innumerous people around the entire world will be able to read it within seconds. Everywhere. Suddenly it doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are, what you look like, how fast you run 100 meters, if you bother to cut your hair or not, what sneakers you wear…
That was when it struck me. Internet sometimes has the ability to make real life matter less.
In a good way. You can be whoever you want to be.
It lets you find friends who share your interests. It lets you be the person you really are. It patiently waits until you got the time. If you’re shy no one will see you blushing. If you want to write you write - and get published! If you like flamingos you’ll find others just like you and you can start a flamingo club.
To me that’s what online gaming and communities are really about. Friendship. Communication. Mutual understanding and support. Finding friends no matter what happens in school, at work or at home.
So besides all the great lol cat pictures and cookie dough recipes, there are other ways in which the internet is fundamentally cool.
Making people grow. Making the friendless socialise. Letting the quiet speak up. Allowing the wannabe to BE.
God save the internet.