How to find your place on the INTERNET and become part of online community?

Last post didn’t get much traction (on discord), probably it was too whiny :yum: But I am determined to get answerers so let me try again :upside_down_face:

This may seem stupid that in the era of information technology, I struggle to find my place on the internet. But it is a real problem for me, and after years of ignoring it, or giving up after a single try, I want to do something about it.

Here’s the thing. When forums were alive, I was quite active user (at least compared to my present state). Then they disappeared, and I didn’t adapt well to the format that modern social media offer (I wonder if that’s the case with most lurkers? :face_with_monocle:). Maybe it’s a self-imposed barrier, but I want to break through it and understand my options. And what’s more important, get to know people from around cyberspace and share interest with them and discuss stuff. Noisbridge seems like a good place to ask this question because it’s exactly what I am looking for, but online.

Below some bits and pieces on what I really liked about forums, and what I struggle with on modern social media platforms.

My idealized vision of forums:

  1. Content was long-lived - you could easily revive and fire up a topic from the past day/week/month/even year without duplicating it.
  2. Posts and replays could (but didn’t have to) be lengthy and took time - sometimes it took days to do your research, structure your argumentation and replay, yet continuity of discussion was preserved.
  3. Structure - every forum apart from its main topic (cars, anime, programming) had sections about politics, movies, science, etc. And when they didn’t have, you could propose to make one and moderate it!
  4. Easy to search - this came from good structure and content longevity, and couple other minor things.
  5. Small and medium forums didn’t have overwhelming rotation of users - people were most often active, stick around, and you got to know them through different threads and section they posted in. Not only the main one.

My struggle with social media:

  1. Facebook groups - non-searchable, zero structure, medium-sized content with chat like/email characteristic that disappears after a day or two.
  2. Discord - tons of people and huge rotation, good structure but zero searchability, voice chat are cool thou, short-lived - even most meaningful conversations are lost after one blink of an eye
  3. Twitter - it’s just FB groups, but you are the group. It has many interesting people with awesome most recent news from their field of work.
  4. YouTube - its comment section is a toxic wasteland for wicked minds, their core communities live on reddit, patreon and discord
  5. Reddit - content and discussion can be extensive, but have minimal structure and very high specialization (Like knitting? Join our knitting sub where we talk knitting, breathe knitting, make love to knitting, and if you mention something that doesn’t involve knitting you will be sentenced to death by yarn!), also huge rotation of people.

Am I crazy to think that forums had many things going for them over current platforms? They were much more versatile and decentralized. The only thing they didn’t have (or was straight up broken) was chat functionality. Why did we abandon them for their defective substitutes controlled by evil souless giants :yum: ?

Ok. Maybe I am exaggerating, and defect lies in me. Still, I would like to know my options and introduce change in my life.

Is there a place on the internet with some aspects of good’ol forums? Is THIS forum THE place? I see VR section has only 3 posts. Is it dying or growing? It looks like it has a more organizational purpose than extensive discussions about everything and anything. But maybe I am wrong?

VRchat looks promising for bonding with people. But does it have worlds for i.e. physics enthusiasts where you can talk many other topics too? What’s the rotation of people like in there? Do they come and go without ever saying goodbye? :cry:

To summit up

How do you, good robots and people of noisebridge handle your digital social life, develop meaningful connections, engage in passionate discussions, share interests with others and collaborate? Please share your wisdom :upside_down_face: I will be grateful for any piece of advice, opinion, perspective on this topic!

1 Like

hi @cyb3rf00l

i resonate a lot with this problem and a lot of your analysis of it. self imposed or not, i think its a reasonable problem to overcome. i think i also agree with most of your thoughts about forums and social media.

have you checked out the “smol web”, indie web, or the fediverse?

there are also a ton of really cool communities on the fediverse focused on different topics, for example, posts.lurk, or tilde.town. a lot of the “smol web” and indie web end up sometimes creating their own forums or use things like irc / discourse / mastodon to stay connected. i’d highly recommend checking those links out and seeing if there is a community you want to be a part of. i think its a lot more important to find the people you want to chat and connect with than worrying too much about the medium. a shitty fb group that is fully of active, engaged members is maybe better than some perfect medium with no users :man_shrugging: just my two cents though.

i found a community from the above called merveilles that i’m now pretty active with, and the community of people seem to have moved from congregating mostly on video games, to slack, to irc (#merveilles on esper), to mastodon (merveilles.town), and recently just made their own forum (forum.merveilles.town) to address some of the medium’s shortcomings. and the fact that the group, as a whole, is willing to move from medium to medium i think speaks to the fact that the medium for connection is just a means, not an end.

wish you the best of luck in finding a spot you feel excited about and connected to.

1 Like

This is a freakin gold mine!

And these are words to live by :slight_smile: Truly! I am fully committed to change how I handle these things.

Thanks for sharing :metal: I will lurk around, experiment, get involved and report back.