Geek Culture and the Internet

The Wikipedia article titled Why Wikipedia is not so Great acknowledges the “geek priorities” of the online encyclopedia. The article referenced the enormous repertoire of obscure science fiction characters, computer science, physics and math articles while contrasting it to the smaller amount of articles in history, art, literature and film.

The internet allows open expression of geek or popular culture. We see the expression of “geek culture” in a variety of places from articles, blogs and forums. Besides Wikipedia another website we can see influenced by geek culture is Reddit. Reddit allows for open debate and discussions through its “Sub Reddits” which can be anything from Physics, Literature, Science, to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who. Similarly to Wikipedia “geeky” Sub-Reddits tend to have a higher subscriber count than those deemed more academic. For example when comparing the Harry Potter Sub-Reddit to that of Physics we find that Harry Potter is more widely followed brandishing 253 810 subscribers to the Physic Sub-Reddit with only 141 794.

Besides Reddit the growth of geek culture is found in a Wikipedia like hosting service known as Wikia. Wikia host several hundred thousand fandom sites that range from fantasy epics like Star Wars to even smaller lesser known fandoms such as Black Clover. These sites are filled completely with biographical information of fictional characters and details of fictional worlds. Similarly to Wikipedia websites made through Wikia are open to edits and changes and are generally written and edited by the fan base.

What interested me about Wikia is that it is written by groups of fan who have united for the common purpose of writing dedicated articles for their fandom through the interconnected space that is the internet. Throughout the course so far the internet has a very interesting way of developing communities. As seen in the Tim Berners-Lee reading the success of the World Wide Web was achieved through community interest, development and support. Communities are brought together by a common interest in the case of Wikipedia these interest may sometimes be deemed “geeky.” But it is this geekiness that has created and molded the internet into its modern form today. I mean this in the most positive way when I say, you need to be a real geek to truly enjoy the internet.

 

One Response to “Geek Culture and the Internet”

  1. Great post, Kevin. I definitely agree on your point on how “geek culture” advance sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit. What is amazing about all of this is how people from all over the world unite together for, as you wrote, a common purpose. If we talk about Star Wars, for example, then Boba Fett’s Wikipedia page is rather thorough (save for a few typos and details). Boba Fett’s character went from receiving little screen-time to a fully developed character in the EU and the comics, the former of which may inspire other Wikipedia categories such as philosophy and his interaction with other characters. This goes to show that while there is always new information to be added and shared, the type of information we choose to add/share may be debated. Who decides? Who chooses? The geeks. However, why do we choose what to choose? That may be something to think about.

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