Let me start out with this idea I have for Web 3.0. It’s like the point. Of this. What you’re looking at. The point of this is to eventually get more humans speaking eye-to-eye. When we decided to have a Pride Party in NYC only a few months after Autostraddle’s launch, we didn’t expect any of the interns to come, let alone ALL of them. But they all came. Seriously, all of them except one; came.
This article in The New York Times via The San Francisco Bay-Citizen attempts to lament how technology has harmed gay culture, but I disagree with the tone of the piece, though I respect its factual accuracy:
“I’m sad,” said Darwin Bebo, an event organizer for the past nine years, noting a lack of volunteers and a decline in registrations — to 550 this year from nearly 1,000 in 2006. “They’re already talking online, so they don’t need a club.”
Mr. Bebo blamed the Internet. As online social networks have surged in popularity with gay men and lesbians, many social groups have been in decline.
The tug of war between the virtual and physical worlds is happening in every strata of society, but in the gay community the shift has been especially poignant and with significant implications. Social groups helped start the gay civil rights movement, and in recent decades they have raised millions of dollars for causes like same-sex marriage and the battle against H.I.V./AIDS.
This has left some wondering, as social groups wane, who or what will pick up the rainbow flag.
I’m not sure if it’s trying to succeed, or just floating a theory. Clearly the article is true, but the mood of it seems excessively wistful and fails to recognize that it’s not that all of the bears are at home on their computers instead of coming to the annual national convention. It’s that they’re at the bar with ten people right there in their own town who they initially met online. It’s that they don’t have to travel all that way just to connect to someone who understood one fucking thing about their lives. If it’s true that gay social clubs have been in a decline then I’d expect similar numbers from other groups like Star Trek fans or role-playing game-playing people. Whatever they’re called.
People keep taking in-real-life social situations and re-imagining them in a new space — CYBERSPACE. But it’s possible to have it work the other way, too, and people have done it.
I don’t know, that seems like progress to me. But I do hope you’ll keep coming to Pride.