Cultural outsider

Since the pandemic, and a long time before that, I never quite fit with the mainstream culture of my country, from the way I look at pricing to the kind of videogames I play, so here are some thoughts about that.

I had already written a blog about my issue when it comes to consuming content in my own language, however this morning, and one of the latest posts from other blogs I follow caught my attention, Internet culture outsider by Manuel Moreale. This is a bit of a reply sharing my experiences with that.

After reading it, it made me think about how I’ve changed so much when compared 10 or so years ago. The reality is, I was born right in between the switch between public TV and news, and the surge of Social Media, memes and trends.

I had a TV, no computer, I only went to school, do simple chores and homework, played outside, or watched TV, not much else. Once I grew up I had a phone, but I wasn’t allowed to have Facebook, I wish I would have obeyed my parents on this one, but I actually created an account just for the sake of a videogame… Anyways, I never really used Facebook until around 2015 though, so I still had some peace of mind for 3 or 4 years.

At that time and until now, I tended to discover what interested me on my own, thanks to the internet and some of the people around me. This is how I developed an itch for origami, retro gaming, emulation, reading, card magic and other hobbies.

The reality is, most of my classmates didn’t even know any of that, from all I know they only played FIFA and Call of Duty, paying hourly to use an Xbox 360 in an internet cafe. The only trending music I was aware of was that which my classmates sang aloud to be funny in class or that was playing on people’s car radios.

At some point after 2015 I finally confessed to my parents I had made a Facebook account years ago and (sadly) they allowed me to use it. I remember I joined a ton of groups about my hobbies, but I also joined what some would consider the 4chan of latinos, because all my classmates were there. It was pretty dark humor and other not so wholesome things. But despite it all, it was a period where I’ve been able to see what some other teenagers in my language and country thought about current events, movie releases, drama and mainstream news.

I feel even then it was just a glimpse of what the overall mass of people think about stuff. I am not very proud of some of the interactions I had there, but at the very least it expanded my worldview, so now I know what to avoid lol.

It was around that time that I also got into rooting and custom ROMs, and from there I got some interest in development and eventually Free Software. But of course, these were all topics that most people in my country couldn’t care less about. Besides, I kept wanting to do my own thing. I stopped using Facebook for the most part and I was using Telegram a little more, Instagram (I KNOW, I KNOW!! 🤢) and even some forums. I had a YouTube channel where I was sharing some kinda cringe videos about stuff, now hidden, and also some animations of stickman fights and zombies. Those are still up, they somehow have like 100K views each, but that’s a different story.

And then I learned English, I started to deviate myself from the culture and people around me, YouTube channels, Twitch streamers, News reporters, Facebook pages, Celebrity drama, whatever it was, I already didn’t care a lot, and now I had new content to replace all of that anyway.

I started using Mastodon, Discord, some random VPN software to play online which had some nice chat features, more and more stuff, be if FOSS or not, that kept me away from what regular people do. Just the fact that I care about websites having an RSS feed is such an alien thought to the people around me, its just hard to believe for me.

Today, generally speaking, people my age are still playing FIFA and Call of Duty (although now they own the consoles instead of renting them) and they have no idea of what is a Metroid. They care about mexican reality shows and novels, they will go to concerts of people I’ve never heard about and get mad when their favorite soccer team lost yesterday.

Still, there’s a glimpse of things I am aware of. For example, Facebook is king here, so I tend to cringe whenever I see posts on Mastodon talking about how everyone there is a monster and should go to prison or whatever. Like, don’t get me wrong I understand the sentiment, but its also so big here there’s just no way around it, and those who avoid it are undoubtedly on Instagram anyway (or disconnected from it all, like me). Glad to say Twitter never really caught up here so at least we don’t have that problem.

Honestly the more I write, more things keep popping up in my head, but I don’t have much time today and I don’t want to be like “I am so unique and different from everyone else, go read the story of my life!” any more than what I got now. I am still not sure if I should try to get more involved with my culture, but for now, I’ll keep going my own way.

This is day 68 of #100DaysToOffload


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