Internet community offers comfort, friends

Managing Editor and Managing Editor

I’m surrounded by idiots.

In fact, I’m one too. You could call us a loving family, spanning the country and the globe.

I haven’t even met a fraction of the group, but we’re connected by two things: an Internet connection and our love of a trio of pop-punk rockers known as Green Day.

I didn’t realize how much the Internet had shrunk the world until a friend suggested I join a forum called Green Day Community a few years ago.

One of the band’s largest fan sites, The Green Day Authority, operates the forum. It’s populated by thousands of members of the official Idiot Club (named after the 2004 album “American Idiot”) and by even more self-declared idiots.

I’ll admit I was initially skeptic of joining. Although recent studies suggest one-fifth of Americans use online forums, meeting and talking with strangers on the Internet is still generally frowned upon by most people.

But after a little prodding — and a springtime announcement that the band will release a trilogy of albums within the next year — I finally started posting on the forum.

It’s safe to say I’m hooked. Although my stats aren’t nearly as impressive as the forum’s veteran members, I’ve had a great time connecting with fellow fans as we await the first album’s release date.

In the process, I’ve become immersed in the dynamics of Internet communities. The topic surfaces occasionally in a social media class I’m taking at the University, but reading about the culture is entirely different than living it.

The diverse population of Green Day Community intrigues me. It’s filled to the brim with fascinating, unique people — the creative graphic artist, the fledgling fan, the punk-rocking parent, the sarcastic troll — who all meet to discuss something they’re passionate about.

Whether you’re looking to talk to someone about your hatred of worn-out “Wake Me Up When September Ends” jokes or your unexplainable attraction to a man who can apply eyeliner more skillfully than you, you’ll find someone willing to listen.

And when news breaks, you can share the excitement within seconds with a group who understands exactly how you feel.

I experienced this first-hand last week when Green Day announced dates for a United States tour starting in November. For the first time since 2005, the band will stop in Cleveland.

Wednesday morning I sat alongside a forum-friend-turned-real-life-friend who also lives in Bowling Green as we purchased pre-sale tickets. Shaking off nervous jitters, we aptly blared “Panic Song,” a lesser-known tune, and celebrated with a victory breakfast after securing our spots.

A group of at least 10 of us plan to camp out in Cleveland the morning before the show, braving harsh winter weather for a chance to nab a front row spot in the pit.

To say I’m excited is an understatement. With enthusiastic real-life and forum friends joining me — and my fiancé, who clearly has no idea what he’s getting into — how can I not be excited to see the band live for the first time?

After reading Facebook updates, tweets and forum posts from fellow fans, I can tell they’re excited too. They’re also grateful for the amazing community sharing their excitement — a group that ensures you will never go to a concert alone and you never have to feel odd about your obsession.

Many people ask me how long I’ve been a Green Day fan. They’re surprised when I answer with “about eight years” because before I joined the forum, I was never really vocal about it. I foolishly didn’t think anyone shared the same feelings.

Boy, was I wrong. In the “real world,” I’m a minority. I accept that many people don’t share my taste in music and probably never will.

But Green Day Community has taught me that no matter your passion, others share it. By using the Internet, finding those people is easier than ever.

So start searching. Find your niche community online, no matter what it is — a pet, a hobby, a band, a gadget, a profession — because it’s out there.

After all, I found mine.

Green Day Community’s members are caring, creative and confident. They debunk any preconceived opinions I had about Internet communities.

They make me proud to be an American Idiot.

Respond to Alissa at

[email protected]