I was given the chance to give a talk at the first ever TEDxFortWayne event in May 2012, where I talked about how the Internet has given us a chance to do community better than we’ve ever done before.
It was the first year for the TEDxFortWayne event, and I was very proud to be one of their speakers. (It’s still one of my favorite talks.)
When the Internet first started becoming popular, people worried that it would destroy our sense of community. If anything, it’s actually helped us find a better community of people we like and want to get to know.
What those nay-sayers didn’t know is that this has been a continuing complaint about television, radio, air conditioners, cars, and the loss of front porches on our homes.
Instead, think about those weird and esoteric things we love to do (or our kids love to do). When I was a boy, in 1977, my weird thing was beer can collecting. It was only by accident that I discovered there’s a whole community of people who loved collecting beer cans. Now, thanks to the Internet, you can find websites, a national organization, regional groups, and conventions all over the world devoted to this one interest.
There are marble collectors, anime cosplay fans, people who love vintage baseball, punk rock knitters, wood carvers, first edition book collectors, fan fiction story writers, typewriter collectors, and anything else you can think of. The Internet has given us our tribes and brought us together in a way that front porches and neighborhoods ever could.
Watch the TEDxFortWayne video to see why the Internet may be giving us a better community than we’ve ever had before.