Updated: Aug 8, 2019
I have a few passions in life. One of them should be pretty obvious if you know me: art. Music and poetry to be more specific, that’s why I do singing and songwriting, it’s not even a choice really. But while I’m a sensitive and deeply vulnerable, dreamy and artsy singer songwriter inside and out (I suppose), there is one other thing I’m very passionate about: internet culture.
No matter how much it is frowned upon by social media critics who nostalgically long for the times when we coincidentally met outside to have a face-to-face conversation or rant about politics or other people in local pubs – I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I also think it’s the most wonderful thing to talk to someone and connect with them on a very deep level in person, but especially as an introvert, in “real life” the percentage of disappointing situations such as awkward small talk or unbearable silence is much higher than the times you can deeply bond with someone.
This might be a daring statement, but I feel like human connection is easier and faster online thanks to threads, communities, hashtags and memes. Since they’re man-made, of course they are only a translation of existing things from the “real world” into a virtual one, but I feel like they can be very powerful. Thanks to internet connection in many parts of the world nowadays, to put it simple: you just have a wider selection of people, you’re not doomed to spend your time with people you didn’t choose (your family) or people in your neighbourhood, town or country only. And there are so many things you can be nerdy about, there always were. But it’s only thanks to the internet that you realise you’re not the only one on this planet who obsesses over the sound of brushing a hedgehog with a toothbrush in order to create some tingly scalp feeling (yes, this is a thing and it’s called ASMR).
You can find like-minded people and get straight to the core of what you love, identify with or just spend a lot of your spare time on. Things that define you as a person that most of the time wouldn’t be visible right away when you meet someone offline. Of course, that can take away the mystery and fun of getting to know someone in person, but at the same time, those online connections make you feel less alone and, let’s be honest: less weird. In the end, everyone wants to feel like they belong, no one likes to be an outsider – unless it’s an outsider club where you can be all goofy and socially awkward together, which technically makes you an insider again.
And it’s those inside jokes, movie quotes, viral videos, memes and funny GIFs that create a huge momentum when media gets mediated and remediated, when there is no divide between creator and consumer anymore, when something develops its own dynamics in such a way that you can’t tell who initiated this new trend or how this phenomenon actually started. Like a whole new language. And it is a language, it is successful communication, an underlying understanding. It’s thanks to relatability (#relatable) that people come together who are meant to be. At least I can proudly say that I found some of my soul mates on the internet (yes, even my girlfriend). It also works the other way around: with my “real life” soul mates, I have some serious inside joke convos going on that originate from a YouTube video reference system.
But in all seriousness, it’s about finding and defining yourself and finding people who are made out of the same things. That’s why you share those memes or other pop-cultural artefacts that you find funny, like or can relate to on social media. And I know that Tumblr is like paradise for internet culture nerds. Well, even though I’m into those things, and I guess this comes down to being nostalgic and dreamy too, I’m also the worst at being in touch with the latest trend. So, the reason why you probably didn’t know about my passion for “them funny/relatable pics” is because I’m a bit late to the party and because I like to keep things to myself. Instead of sharing my internet treasures, I have this folder on my laptop where I keep them all.
I guess keeping a folder on your laptop is as nontypical as writing a long blog post in today’s fast internet culture. Which is another paradox: I’m not much of a talker, so my “real life” me would be perfectly suitable for these short sentences and quick information transfer that’s being cultivated online. But when I’m writing, everything fires at once and I just can’t keep it short and simple. Guess I’ll never really find my niche that way. Or maybe I do by sharing relatable pics? Feel free to relate.