a conversation on community

If you’ve been following along in my posts, you’ve probably noticed that I often like to mention that the internet is a community. You’re probably also wondering what I mean by that or how it can be possible when people are chatting with each other across countries or even continents. I feel that when people thinking of ‘community,’ they tend to focus on a tight knit group that works together such as a neighborhood or a church group, but according to dictionary.com, it’s “a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests.”

So say, for instance, you and a group of people listen to the same type of music and talk to each other on a forum about it – this could be considered an online community. And the more you get to know and care for the people you share interests with, the more personable and absolute this community becomes.

I’d like to share with you my first hard-hitting and powerful recollection of an online community coming together to not only do something influential but life-changing as well.

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“I don’t see th…

“I don’t see the Internet as simply a place where stuff gets published or money is made. I don’t even see it as a separate place that you enter and exit in and out of the “real” world. It is a living, breathing community of people who don’t see a gap between their online lives and their offline ones. And if you connect the dots between the right people, amazing things can happen.”

Andy CarvinDistant Witness

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how to be safe on the internet

Since I’ve been online and using the web for a long time and have never encountered any problems, I thought I’d give some tips on how to make friends and create opportunities for yourself.

  • It’s okay to hand out your first name. Really. No one is going to be able to find you by just your first name or nickname even. 
  • It’s okay to give a general statement of where you live. I tell people I’m from Maryland. Do not give a direct address.
  • There’s safety in fandom. You’ll find a lot less scary people who are invested in shows and movies. It’s also nice to be friends with someone who shares your common interests. (A lot of people on tumblr are super friendly and always willing to talk.)
  • Check out peoples’ blogs for personal pictures, audio posts, vlogs, etc – anything to indicate they are actually who they say they are. If they can’t give you substantial evidence then they’re probably not legitimate.
  • Get to know little things about people before sharing any information with them or becoming their facebook friends. People who can vividly describe their lives in detail are much more likely to be safe.
  • Set up a video chat or voice chat with someone. If they’re refusing to chat with you or keep putting it off, block/delete/cut off all ties with them.
  • Don’t go to forums or blogs that seem suspicious. Trust your gut. It’s as simple as that. I find that the people who get in trouble on the internet go looking for trouble.

As always, there are exceptions to every rule, and people can be sneaky and deceiving, but the internet is full of much more good than bad.