So said a meme finding its way here via celtic4.
It made me chuckle, because online fandom has not only brought me good friends, but has in fact taught me a lot of practical skills. A rundown:
1996: Senior year at university. I had an email address, which I checked only in the Honors College computer lab, on a Telnet type of archaic mail system. Had never been on "the web" otherwise. But in order to learn more about my newfound idols, The Cure, I went into the nicer computer labs with the color monitors, fumbled my way onto a web browser, and learned how to do searches. Watched photos of eyeliner-clad band members load themselves sl-ow-ly down the page. Was enthralled.
Went home for summer, where parents hadn't bothered to hook up their 14.4K dial-up modem yet. Called local university (where parents worked, and had log-in rights) and had tech support walk me through it, including how to use Fetch to download a web browser.
Via Netscape, discovered a web-based chat room about The Cure where you had to hit "reload" to see the new lines of conversation. Made some friends. One of them (hi, raethe!) talked me through how to download and install live chat (IRC). Lost rest of summer using that, and making more friends (and a couple enemies).
1997: Old hand now at web-browsing, chat, and email. Found basic HTML instructions online, and taught self to write webpages. Or was that 1998? Anyhow, the whole reason was pretty much so I could squee about celebrities I liked. Also began love affair with downloading music.
Spent next several years doing all of the above.
2002: LOTR burst like a supernova onto my awareness. There it still hangs, a shining star in my sky. kenshi, with serendipitous timing, offered me a LiveJournal code early that year. I thought, "What the heck will I do with this?", but took it anyway. Ended up finding a few things to do with it, nearly all of them having to do with worshipping LOTR and engaging in online fandom. Multiple personalities, utilized on occasion in the chat-room days, flourished again, with all their attendant technological perks. (Separate email addresses, separate LJ's, etc.)
Brushed up on Photoshop to make LJ icons, most of them fandom-related.
Brushed up on PowerPoint to organize my growing collection of downloaded LOTR photos.
2003: I believe it was this year I figured out how to rip sound samples from the DVD onto my computer, and overlay them with music, so that I could put together a pervy montage of misapplied quotations from FOTR.
2004: I haven't yet found a way to rip video clips from the DVD's so I can make my own music videos. But you just wait till I have a long weekend at my disposal.
Does anyone doubt, anymore, that online fandom can be a rewarding and educational experience?