A lost soul poses the question to Slashdot:
Where does a geek find a social life?
The responses are half lmao, half serious business and half wtf (that’s right, 150%, cause it’s that awesome):
don’t call it meatspace, it freaks out the normal people.
If you try something and it fails, you can always reload from a previous saved game. If only real life were like that… “Wow, that didn’t go over well. ctrl-z! ctrl-z!”
It doesn’t matter where you go, or what you do. Just start talking, and when it feels awkward, and people give weird feedback, don’t take it personally, move on, and try again. After a while, you’ll be person of character, and able to interact meaningfully with everyone.
You could start by not ASKING SLASHDOT…
Is this a rare question on slashdot? How many people responded? i.e. would you say it got a sympathetic hearing? Fascinated…
I thought you might be interested in this. The comments are very interesting in the way some casually discourse a lament for an ‘older’ Slashdot. I think this clearly indicates that the OP challenges adherents to a kind of ‘geek culture’ in its ambiguous request for a ‘social’ life. The ambiguity is multiple.
1) Firstly, and perhaps the most clear question is what is meant by ‘social’? I am inferring an implied romantic dimension, ie ‘How do I meet girls (or boys)?’, with the possibility that the OP meant something other than this. In the context of a romantic context, the term ‘meatspace’ develops a deliciscious triple meaning! Also, ‘social’ suddenly becomes resignified beyond so-called ‘social media’. Social media enables a certain sociality, but clearly the OP wanted some other kind of sociality be it romantic or otherwise.
2) Was the post a prank, merely for the lulz, or was it a genuine cry for help from (and for) the socially awkward? Perhaps the genuineness, if it exists, can only do so couched in the discourse of lulz. The way humour can express unspoken truths that otherwise could not be faced, perhaps the lulz in this context enable the OP to express a genuine social inadequacy. If so, then the language is being turned in on itself and being mobilised in a certain way: to use the language to escape from the discursive confines of the language. To produce a line of flight from within, a minoritarian turn (getting D&G freak on). The OP needs new connections, a new visibility to perceive him/herself in the world, and a new discursive turn to be able to express a way around the blockage that s/he so clearly expresses.
3) As an escape attempt then, the OP challenges those repetitions of geek culture that do not want to escape. The paranoic intepellation of an us and them, where the us of geekdom is valorised for its subcultural superiority. I suggest that this is where the unsympathetic responses come from.
Wouldn’t it be great to see some sensitive writing about this from gender and cultural studies types — “prospects for intimacy in the discourse of lulz”. We should think about it more…
I’m also interested in your comments about subculture functioning to perform superiority. I’ve written a bit about this in a piece on “snark”, but still think there is something particular about the gendered norms of geek culture that needs further elaboration. Perhaps discussing the microhistories that contributed to first hacking and now blog-generated geek cultures would help.
Not only the hacking and blogging geek cultures but the spectacular rise of the geek/dork within popular culture!
I went and paid to see the Transformers sequel for the second time yesterday. I am ot sure if I should’ve paid to see it once let alone twice. Anyway I wanted to see it again mainly to figure out why I didn’t like it so much. I am writing a review that is largely organised around the question of geek culture and why Transformers 2 failed in one way but succeeded in another.
Plus there is a weird critical comment in the film about online geekdom some college students who run a blog/news site ironically named ‘the real effing deal’ versus the other geeky-type dork, Sam Witwicki (Shia Le Bouf) (or however both names are spelt) who actually does go out and do the real effing deal with the alien robots, etc.
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