TECH TALKS: Nerd Alert! (On Being a Fangirl and Making Internet Friends) Annie Stamell

Good news, you guys. It used to be kind of weird if you made friends with someone on the Internet, but now it’s totally normal! It’s totally cool. Not like COOL cool, but cool as in, totally a-okay cool. This is something people do now. People know each other because of the Internet – because of social networks like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and to some degree, Facebook. And because the fastest track to making Internet friends is through an online community, if you’re also passionate of something and talk about it on the Internet, you’re going to have so many Internet friends.

If you are the type who has the tendency to be an obsessive fan and you spend an absurd amount of time doing Google searches about whatever it is you are a fan of, be it Downton Abbey, an NBA athlete married to a reality television star, or a British Boy Band, you may be a teenage girl. If you are not a teenage girl but you are all those other things, you are just you, and you sound like the type to make Internet friends. It’s okay. I’m one of those people. I was like that as a teenage girl and I’m still like that now.

As a teenage girl, however, my thing was the The X-Files. I was obsessed. I wanted to marry David Duchovny and have his babies. (Okay I still want to marry David Duchovny and have his babies.) In middle and high school my bedroom was covered in X-Files posters, a David Duchovny calendar and various collages I’d made from X-Files features in magazines. When I was the captain of the field hockey team my senior year I named all our plays after X-Files characters (I distinctly remember the “Krycek” and the “Skinner” as being different set-ups for penalty corners). I used to tape record every single episode (this was before TV on DVD, mind you, and I had to actually physically record them all with my VCR. Gross I sound like one of those old people who says things like “when I was your age I had to walk to school through a mile of snow…”). If I ever happened upon a random episode playing on television, I could usually identify the name and season of any episode within thirty seconds. I was a total geek for the show.

While I was unabashed about my adoration for The X-Files, I was pretty tight-lipped about how much time I actually devoted to obsessing over the show, because I was a little embarrassed about it. See, I was one of those fangirls that hung out in AOL chatrooms and talked to other X-Philes (like-minded fans, duh) and obsessively read websites boasting spoilers and theories and the like. I had made friends because of being a fan of the X-Files. I was obsessed with all things Mulder and Scully and after a lot of IM exchanges I became pen pals with another girl who was similarly obsessed. I think she lived in California, which seemed really exotic to me. I remember getting a letter from her, one that included a picture of the X-Files collages in her room, and being simultaneously delighted to find someone else who was as much of a dork as I believed myself to be, and embarrassed that I would call someone I had never even met in person a friend.

You guys! That makes me sad! You should never be embarrassed of who you are friends with or how you became friends! Okay, fine, obviously I was super nerdy and this whole X-Files thing just helped me to find other like-minded nerds I could talk to and not feel embarrassed about it, but now it’s different. This is the norm! Now we can all just be fangirls and we can make friends on the internet and we can marry David Duchovny if we want to! Maybe not that last thing!

Now, thanks to Twitter, Tumblr, and even places like HelloGiggles (sometimes I look at these forums and think especially places like HelloGiggles! Look at all the friends people on this site have made simply from being on this site!), people don’t ever have to feel weird about meeting someone on the Internet and becoming their friend. I certainly don’t feel that way anymore. Because the Internet is a component of daily life, I don’t even bat an eye at the notion of meeting someone online before meeting them in person. I mean, I think that’s almost the entire premise of Twitter for some people.

So anyway, don’t worry – you’re welcome here. You can be a fangirl and you can make friends on the Internet and it’s totally, totally cool. Now let’s just work on that whole me marrying David Duchovny thing!

Scene from The X-Files via MovieFanatic.com

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  1. My bff and I had known each other for years before getting to really know each other and becoming friends – and we did it through our common love for series (Buffy, Charmed, Alias, Dark Angel and the like). I think being a real fangirl/boy was considered as nerdy when I was in high school but now, it’s fine! And I think it’s just great, we should never feel ashamed just because we’re passionate about sth! Besides, I also made great friends on the Internet because I’m in fandom and in my book, making frends is always a positive thing, no matter how you ‘meet’ them! Anyway, I just loved your article and it made me smile so thanks! :)

  2. I feel like you describe me to a T. just replace X files with Smallville and David D. with Tom Welling and ALL the post…………..ME. Love it

  3. I am wearing that exact same outfit right now! don’t know if that’s a good thing! scully is cute though lol :)

  4. I whole heartedly agree with everything in this article. I was and am a huge fan to this day – I’ve actually been rewatching them this week.

  5. I had an obsession that helped me make friends, but it was with Buffy. Some of my closest friends were people I engaged with on a message board devoted to Buffy. I want to ditto what Stefanie said about the friendships evolving. Two out of my three bffs are from my time as a Buffy fan!

  6. I recently made a friend strictly via Instagram and it was amazing!

  7. I have 2 X-Files tattoos, and half my FB friends are X-Philes. This article made me squee with fangirlish delight!!!

    Philes unite!

    Head to xfilesnews.com for all the latest XF info, and help campaign for a 3rd movie!!

  8. I would only have a third of my friends if I’d cut out people I met online before I met them in real life. A lot of them are “left over” from my fangirl times and we all evolved together. The subject matter maybe changed over time, but our friendship and trust sure never did.

  9. i feel like I should just write ditto on this entire article. For awhile when I was in middle school/high school I lived in a really small town and didn’t have any friends so I got super into x-files. i’m talking message boards, chat rooms, notebooks filled with pictures and favorite quotes. It was borderline out of control. But some of the people that I met through the fandom were some of the nicest, most intelligent, accepting people I have ever encountered in my life.

  10. I just might be your Canuck counterpart! Not only did posters, collages and action figures adorn my bedroom but I had (well… still have) the 6 foot tall light up movie display – best night-light ever. The happiest day of my teenage life was on a rained out vacation going to an indoor black-light mini-putt venue and hole 9 was dedicated to X-Files, complete with Moose & Squirrel’s giant faces.
    But I did meet some seriously cool people on message boards over the years, it was a great way to connect with people, bonding about our love of DD.

  11. I would just like to say that I would absolutely support a hellogiggles friendship dating service. I’m living in a new city and would love a way to meet new friends in my area. I feel like HG would totally pull this off great! <<<My two cents.

  12. I’m a blogger and I move every year so my blog friends are becoming like my real friends. I know more about some of them then anyone in my current city. I think it’s a beautiful thing!