Internet Overgeneralization Syndrome (IOS)


That is where you assume that the minority of very loud and vocal people on the Internet speak for everyone (when in fact the most extreme people simply shout the loudest). And you assume that all of the people you see online represent the problems, hopes, needs, and wants of EVERY person you will meet in real life… when in reality, people in internet communities are the outliers of the social bell curve.

Inevitably, you go into Costco and are in total SHOCK that people aren’t trolling each other in the produce section, that everybody isn’t arguing about social justice issues in line at the checkout, and people aren’t jumping in to correct each other because someone is being wrong on the Internet, and most people are not immediately identifiable as anarcho-socialist, genderqueer, burlesque dancing, polyamorous Burning Man trapeze artists and most of these people don’t even know what a meme IS, and not only do they not insist on really skinny partners who seem to do everything perfectly, but… they’re all pretty ordinary and even schlubby themselves.

And you realize, if there’s hope for all of these ordinary people, there’s hope for you.


Subjective reality and Twilight

A brief thought that I have often had:

There’s an extent to which I think there’s truth in the subjective reality model – not that the universe *is* a figment of my imagination, but it’s a good working model for how we exist. We’re born solipsist, and spent the rest of our lives gradually growing conscious of the fact that other people exist and have a life which has nothing to do with us. Whether at first or forever, we are often attracted to “characters” more than people. Before we realize that we’re not the only people in the world, the people in our lives are Non Player Characters.

They’re the shadows moving on the wall of our existential cave.

And when we operate from this perspective, we don’t seek relationships, we seek actors to act out the parts of our internal drama.

Whether you belong to Team Edward or Team Jacob or are not even a Twilight fan (heck, I’m not), here is a metaphor: it’s not just that (many) women want Edward but that they want to be Bella, and need an Edward to act out that role.

And I should NOT know the names of characters from Twilight. But pop culture is the mythology of today.

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Tribescanning: the Science of Small Talk

Just to get things started off, I thought I’d repost an old blog entry from a previous blog.

Some background with this issue: I’m an introvert and a bit of a geek, so for a long time, I found myself at a loss in many social environments and social situations… I got along perfectly well in geeky/nerdy circles but there was quite discernibly something “out of sync” about the way that I related to non-geeks.

Many of the retroactive observations I made of the geeky world, after I left it, agree with the observations made in the famous (within the geek subculture)  Usenet post about “Fanspeak” which posed the interesting claim that people in fandom communicate differently from the mainstream. One observation I have made is that in geek circles, people tend to jump right to the point of a conversation pretty quickly, without as much of the usual process of “feeling the other person out”. People bring up common interests with the intention of discussing those interests, not merely establishing “oh, we share those interests”.

Here, therefore, is my blog entry “Tribescanning”. Enjoy. Let me know what you think, and I’d especially love it if you’d share your own observations.

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