There is a saying about what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. In a somewhat clumsy appropriation of that sentiment, I once heard someone suggest that what happens online rarely goes beyond that arena, least of all into the so-called ‘real world’. At the time, and indeed now, I begged and begged to differ. Perhaps in the early days of the internet, some things, such as chatting on a messenger platform or playing a game with people from another location, were absolutely online exclusive. How things have changed. And how a whole new world has emerged.
As the global online community expanded and exploded, technology fans and online gamers became ever more connected. This has led to something both extraordinary as well as wonderful in many ways. By this, I mean that many who met via shared passions online have now created a whole new landscape where these friendships and connections become real-world experiences.
The online world has, and increasingly is, something that is now helping people forge friendships in the offline realm. Whether it was playing bitcoin casino games that brought people together, or enjoying online quiz platforms, enjoying roleplay games to indulging in globally popular online sports simulations, people may have met in the virtual world, but they are now more frequently meeting in the real world.
But, when it comes down to it, is it just a few, more adventurous and perhaps already well travelled fans and gamers that are creating these new offline communities, or is this something that is now commonplace? Well, let’s think about that, shall we.
Forging Friendships: From Remote Relations To Annual Conventions
Chat rooms, online gaming, even virtual video game competitions all have something in common; they often brought people from around the world, different walks of life and different cultures into a shared experience. It was, of course, all online at first, as we alluded to earlier. That is not to say that online friendships were not valid, it is merely to say that they were always remote in the geographical sense. Yes, connections were made, and shared passions enjoyed communally, but remote remained dominant.
These days, gaming conventions are not just some niche events organized by a few die-hards, they are genuinely big business, money-making and often industry enhancing extravaganzas. From gaming expos to international meet ups, online comrades have become not just real-life friends, but also pioneers in terms of both starting and continuously growing these big technology and gaming events. In some ways, it is a natural progression, in other ways, a surprising but positive by-product of the fervor that these communities espouse.
Do a search for conventions, meet ups, expos, get togethers or conferences based on your favorite game, preferred poker style, or even online quizzing, and you are sure to find something. As I said earlier, this is not niche, this is now a new landscape where remote relations have indeed spawned annual conventions and a sub-sector of the tech and gaming industry that shows no signs of slowing.
Technology triumphs as in person world prospers
When all said and done, I think that the emergence of offline, real-world technology and online gaming community is a human as well as virtual triumph. It’s a triumph for technology, a triumph for online friendships, and a triumph for the resorts, towns, cities, and locations that are now playing host to these financially propitious events. From the now established and biggest global gaming conventions to the newly born and early-stage expos, technology has given people a triumph in creating in person camaraderie.
Thankfully, this particular success story has been facilitated by technology, as well as human endeavor, of course. Often, online communications have been chastised, castigated, and criticized for making human face to face interaction less common, or even replacing such personal communion. The emergence of these once online communities as real-world friends, organizing global events and creating real world opportunities seems to be the perfect rebuttal of any such critiques, or at the very least, a hearty reply to them.
So, what does this do to both the reputation of tech, as well as the previously held belief that online gamers and technology fans are often detached, or so attached to their screen that they are less socially active? One thing it does do is show that, despite earlier claims, the online world is not insular and, although these expos, conventions, conferences and even informal get togethers are not for everyone, they are now an established and growing part of the game players and technology crowds’ calendars. Just take a look at any tech related conference and you will soon start to appreciate the passion that tech inspires, the fervor it invokes and the overall way in which the online world can be just as animated in the real, or offline arena. It’s a joy to see.
Featured image Credit: Fredrick Tendong/Unsplash