So I spent the entirety of last night watching a string of YouTube videos about people from various different countries tasting some common snacks from other countries and other videos about people from mostly European countries talking about the differences between their countries and the United States. As I was watching these videos, I was just struck with amazement as I realized how easy it is for me to listen to all of these people from all over the world essentially talking to or communicating with me, albeit indirectly.
It may seem painfully obvious, but sometimes I think that we take for granted the fact that, through the use of the internet, international communication is so easy that often do it by accident.
One thing I’ve noticed from the eight or so hours of YouTube videos I watched was that, in spite of all of the different accents and languages that each of the people in them used, they said a lot of the same things and reacted to the different foods in very relatable ways. Watching them talk about how they value some of the things that other countries exemplify had an awesome effect of bringing the personality of the people to my eyes. For example, when talking about the United States, I found that almost everyone had an impression of openness, and they all seemed to respect that quality (even if that is not always the case with Americans). Again, this is all probably obvious, but I don’t think that makes it any less astonishing when you stop to think about it.
It reminds me of a time when I was talking to a friend through Ventrilo. I was in Minnesota, and he was in Louisiana, and we were talking together in real time while watching a stream of professional Korean League of Legends player who was playing in a North American server.
That was probably the first time that it really struck me just how much the internet, and perhaps even more so online video games, could bring people together. That moment made the whole world feel so much smaller, and it was amazing. It honestly felt like a glimmer of hope that maybe someday the world can actually be at peace (as cliche as that sounds) and that we can connect with one another despite cultural difference, language barriers, and physical distance.
I’ve also had some neat experiences in MMORPGS. For a brief period of time, I was in a guild in Archeage that had a fair amount of Australian players. Since my sleep schedule was (and still is, to be honest) pretty messed up, I was often on late enough to play with them consistently and go on pirating adventures with them. It was a blast and a real treat to have fun and play with people from the other side of planet.
Most of the admittedly sparse traffic that my website generates is primarily from the States, but I have gotten a surprising amount of views from Europe, Asia, and I think even one from Africa. Some of it may be proxy servers, but it still feels awesome to think that I am actively communicating with people from around the globe. If you are reading this from a different country or, heck, even a different state, I’d like to take this unique opportunity to say “Hi, thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say.”
But that’s just my view on things, and I must admit, my experiences are probably relatively limited compared to what many of you have seen and done. Have you made any international friends through the internet or online gaming? Some of you might have even found your significant other that way. Or maybe you prefer to have closed borders. Either way, it’s nice to think of each of you as neighbors.