It’s nice to meet you! I’m Kara, and I’m a self-confessed fangirl – and a bit of an addict to the internet. I’m currently in my second year at RMIT and I’m eternally intrigued by how humans interact with each other and share information in this incredibly technology driven world. I grew up in a relatively decent size country town in rural Victoria, which was certainly an experience. We didn’t get Channel Ten on our televisions until I was about 14 (I had an idyllic childhood that was Neighbours-free), and I made it through several years of dial-up internet before we finally entered the modern age of broadband in about 2010. It seems almost amusing to reflect on the days where you couldn’t talk on the home phone and be on the internet at the same time, or when the most important thing was checking whether or not you’d received any new comments on MySpace. The internet is now something that’s entrenched in our every day lives; we use it on our computers and even carry it around in our pockets, with smart phones and tablets. This 24-hour cycle of use and access has changed the way that people use the internet, and that’s what I want to explore in this blog. I’m going to be delving into online culture; how the internet enables people to interact, the opportunities it provides and the impact it has on personal privacy and the delivery of information and entertainment
content. I want to find out how YOU use the internet, what you love about it, what you loathe about it. Even right now, by writing this blog, I’m attempting to communicate with an audience broader than my own personal networks, a process that is enabled by online technology. I also want to explore different facets of the online world; different places, topics and platforms. One of the most prominent online groups of today seems to be that of fandom, where people who like the same band/TV show/book/film/celebrity/musical/type of bread get together and bond over their shared experiences, and also express their passion for these things through things like tumblr blogs, fanfiction, forum posts, episode commentary, GIF-making and all kinds of creative outlets. You’ve probably heard of fandom; in fact, you may even know a fangirl or fanboy already – if you’re not one yourself. Involvement in fandom features lots of the behaviour reflected in the GIF below.
To me, being a fangirl isn’t just limited to music or books or films. Those that know me in reality will be able to tell you that I’m a bit of fangirl about life in general, to be honest. I just tend to get VERY excited about LOTS of things, such as new stationery products or a new way to travel somewhere, and I often use ALL CAPS to convey this. Apologies in advance. Fangirl is simply a label for my ridiculous enthusiasm, and it’s a badge that I’ll proudly wear. Not all of us are screaming and crying and outside hotels at 3am. Well, not ALL the time, anyway. The internet empowers learning (who said that Wikipedia wasn’t a reliable source for your Year 9 history project?), and learning is something that I love. Thanks to the internet, I can attempt to learn every available piece of information about a particular person or group and then consider myself informed on a topic, without having ever formally studied it or met the people in question. Is that one of the dangers of the internet? That too many people are becoming “experts” without formal qualifications? Too many people becoming crazy super stalkers with conspiracy theories about boy bands? Or is that the way forward? We have platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for communicating and ‘joining the conversation,’ services like Tumblr and Youtube for sharing thoughts and creations and becoming ‘Tumblr/Youtube Famous,’ online news providers and a million different other things in between that I probably haven’t even considered. That’s the thing about the internet and the online world, it’s ever-changing. More and more people are coming online and making it a more diverse and intriguing place, and more and more people are becoming increasingly dependent on the internet in their every day lives. How do you feel about being online? Is it something you wish you did less of? Or would you like it to become more central to your life? Do you love it, or does it creep you out, just a little? Let me know in the comments below! Kara Gibbons