It’s easy to talk about the internet as though it’s an imaginary space, where the things we do don’t really matter. The dichotomies are everywhere: IRL vs internet; meatspace vs cyberspace; offline vs online.
Life online is a distraction, we’re told, and a destructive one at that. Dating apps are “ruining” dating, while phones are destroying our attention spans. “Look up,” as that patronising video told us, because the “real” world is happening outside our screens.
But for this week at least, we at the NS want to talk about the internet as a place where we’ve lived real, and sometimes considerable, portions of our lives. Whether the experiences were negative or postiive, the technology was just a tool that allowed us to seek them out.
It might be where we learned to masturbate, found people with the same bizarre interests as us, or first published a piece of writing. We’ll take a closer look at internet addiction, find out how we all use the internet to speak to those we love, and revisit our cringe-worthy (but formational) teenage exploits on social media.
Below you’ll find the links of all the stories we’ve run so far. Join in the conversation – and tell us your favourite Bebo or Livejournal memory – at #internethistories on Twitter, or in our comments sections on Facebook.
Nick Hilton looks back on his teenage years spent hatching wizarding fansites.
New Statesman staffers discuss their formative years spent on the instant messaging site – in the form of an MSN chat.
Rebecca Reid on the sites that allowed her to explore her sexuality.
Stephen Bush revisits his teenage fanfiction career.
Joanna Walsh on the technicolour art and politics movement that was – and is – Cyberfeminism.
Elizabeth Minkel applies the 90-10-1 rule to internet fandom.
What is it? Why does it cause such trouble? And how can you be better at it? Stephanie Boland investigates.
How a pizza offended Italy, and why Scotland is angry at Unicode: India Bourke takes a look at the tangled world of emoji diplomacy.