I had two or three windows full of tabs sitting open in my web browser. Most are closed or bookmarked, as I gave up on reading them anytime soon. Here are the rest.
Essays: I really, really need to get back to these, so before I forget let me direct your (and my) attention to three essays. First, Paul Graham’s practically canonical “Why Nerds Are Unpopular.” I read it some years back and I figure it’s worth going over it again with a fine-tooth comb to compare it to the research that’s been done on the subject. Also from awhile back, a college newspaper about MIT’s geek culture. Really, I should probably be spending more time just hanging out at MIT for this dissertation; it’d be interesting to compare how the geek culture there has changed since Sherry Turkle wrote about it in Second Self. And finally, Hipster Please (neat blog about nerdcore and the nerd community noted in a recent comment by Church) features “A Pontification on Nerds and Community.”
Online Geeky Groups: As part of my efforts to find my way into smaller, more “local” geeky communities, I started hitting up the social networking sites to see what sorts of groups they had. MySpace has a Geek Culture group (among others), Meetup has a whole geek subdomain (but alas, no events in Philly or Boston), and Facebook has over 500 geek-related groups (before even searching for “nerd”), including a group for geeky girls at Penn. Still haven’t figured out what to do with any of this knowledge, but it seems good to know.
Another Magazine: Nerds Gone Wild seems like what Geek Monthly might have been like if were produced by Australians who like to swear more in print and give away PDFs of their magazine online. Includes yet another potential ancestry for geekdom: magicians!
The Politics of Comics: Japan’s new PM may be a manga fan. This is apparently thrilling news to Japanese fans and investors, as there really is such a thing as pro-manga policymaking: “While serving as Japan’s foreign minster earlier this year, Aso was instrumental in creating the ‘Nobel prize’ for foreign manga artists. He’s keen on promoting manga overseas, arguing that the comics are a critical vehicle for enhancing Japanese diplomacy” (etc.).
Gamers and the Spiral of Silence: Sometimes, Kotaku posts about things like “the weird world of FFVII roleplayers” or academics discussing virtual migration on World of Warcraft. And when they do that, you can pretty much assume that some people are going to post comments in response to express how the people cited in the post are pathetic. Granted, the former post there does have some pretty extreme stuff going on in terms of how invested these roleplayers are with their games, and the latter only has a couple negative comments. Still, they fit the general pattern I’ve noticed, and I’m wondering if there’s a spiral of silence going on here with the lurkers. From what I understand, it’s not the most well-supported theory, but it’s done okay, and these sorts of things might work differently in different communication media. (Just thinking aloud.)
I’m Not Even Sure What This Is: And finally, Evergeek Media: “It’s Amazon meets AP – with geeks!” It sounds like they are a sort of news/data aggregation service for companies that want to understand what’s going on in geek-oriented media industries. Looks like the site hasn’t been updated for awhile. I don’t even remember where I originally stumbled upon this, but I just found it again the other day in some old bookmarks. I wonder how much of a market there really is in providing insider knowledge to companies that want to reach geeks, especially considering that most such companies I know of have plenty of eager geeks on staff already.