Joining an Online Community in Identity
The internet is a great place to meet people, establish an online identity, and talk about things you love.
With the rise of social media, chat forums and blogging platforms, there are more and more ways to connect with people who like the same things you do or have the same experiences as you.
Often social communities can offer support and help too.
Sharing music/messaging idols
Good for chatting to people who like the same music as you. You can join in with conversations via hashtags, especially during competitions or TV appearances. Often music artists will take questions from fans, either on Twitter or via a webstream, which is a great way for you to get a little closer to your idols.
Telling your story/hearing others
Good for following various YouTube celebrities, and perhaps being inspired to share your own story on the channel. You can also chat and meet members who like the same vloggers you do, and there are often meet-up events as well.
Jenni met some of her closest friends (and her current boyfriend) when she was 16 thanks to being a part of the Nerdfighter fandom, a group of people who watch the videos of John Green (author of The Fault In Our Stars) and his brother Hank Green.
After discovering the videos during some exam procrastination she found a Facebook group for Glasgow based fans, got chatting to people, and eventually went along to a meet up with one of her friends:
“My first interaction was a meet up to see Deathly Hallows Part 1 where I took a friend, and we chatted [with the Glasgow bunch] on Twitter/Skype afterwards with meet ups every 2-3 months, which we still do. Plus I’m still with the guy that I met on that day!”
“[The people I met through that fandom] make up some of my closest friends today - after a while it came off the internet and just became such a huge part of my life.”
Dissecting theories/influencing plot-lines
Good for seeing fan created art, discussing theories about the show, and meeting people who like the same shows as you – although beware of spoilers!
Derek has met a number of people on Tumblr thanks to various TV shows and their groups – whilst he blogs about various things, from photography to hockey, the people he follows on the site have similar tastes in TV shows:
“The people I follow on Tumblr tend to blog about relatively similar things, a lot of them post .gifs from tv shows that I really like! (Buffy, Firefly, Supernatural, etc) They also blog quite a number of artistic pieces which I adore, some of them are really talented.
"I am a part of fandoms but I'm not a major player. The good thing about Tumblr though is you become part of a fandom the second you start blogging regularly about a TV show and although each fandom has it's eccentrics you tend to find a lot of like-minded people sharing plot theories and love of certain characters with you.
"I've got so many friends on Tumblr from all over the world. Places like Canada, Australia, Hawaii, etc! Usually we just chat about similar interests such as hockey or TV shows but there's a good handful of them that I chat to about my daily life and about theirs!”
Establishing sexuality/finding your identity
The internet is a great place to feel connected – you might feel isolated where you live when it comes to creating your identity into who you feel comfortable being, or finding your sexuality. But there is always somebody out there you can connect with who has been in the same situation as you, or is going through a similar thing. Seeing how other people have dealt with issues such as coming out, and seeing positive and encouraging messages can help you feel less alone as you become confident in who you are.
Derek got to follow his friend’s journey via Tumblr:
“My friend Taylor is a female to male trans-person and I watched his transition through Tumblr. I really admire him for that”