Ever since high school, I’ve been heavily involved in two major online communities. The first, and my gateway into the world of using internet forums for conversations, sharing fan-made works and debating topics, was Tommy Tallarico’s (video game composer/Video Games Live co-founder) forum. There, at a time when Tommy was still a TV host for video game shows like “The Electric Playground” and “Reviews on the Run/Judgment Day”, I met a few online friends and acquaintances and we chatted about all things gaming. I even got the opportunity to interact with Tommy and even received my first ever autograph from him just by being a member of the community. Of course, things weren’t always sunshine and rainbows, and we often found trolls to contend with who either legitimately hated Tommy or just wanted to be a nuisance. But the whole experience was an eye-opener and made me realize that the internet could be used for more than just watching silly videos, playing Flash games, and chatting to my local friends via MSN Messenger.
After that site unfortunately fell to spammers and eventually was shut down, I soon stumbled across Doug Walker’s, aka the Nostalgia Critic, first crossover with James Rolfe, aka the Angry Video Game Nerd. Having already liked the Nerd, I made the decision to visit Doug’s site and through that developed a wiki based on it, made online friends I still talk to today, and found a new community to call “home.” Once again, there was (and still is) the occasional drama from trolls both on the site and my wiki, but I took it in stride and focused on enjoying various contributors’ work. I still feel that way even now, but… I’ve found myself drifting away from the community more and more as each year goes by.
Maybe some people have abandoned it due to contributors leaving or site drama or even something as simple as its redesign, but I’ve found I’ve mainly stayed because of my wiki. It’s something I take pride in because it’s one of the only fan-made things I’ve ever produced. However, I tend to find myself watching the people I like on their own sites or YouTube channels nowadays, spending less time on the forums and in the comments than I ever have. Before, I used to use the forums for private messaging my friends and fiance, and I did sometimes take part in thread discussions. But now, with all the changes over the years and a revolving door of contributors, I find it’s not as…fun as it used to be. It saddens me to see both communities lose their appeal to me, with the Channel Awesome community having gone through the motions and the Tallarico boards experiencing a pretty sudden drop-off before being dissolved completely. I realize both communities vary in size and scope, but it pains me to think that I don’t get as much enjoyment out of Channel Awesome now as I did within its first four or so years.
Whether Channel Awesome and its community endures or fizzles out, I’ll never forget all the good things that’s come out of it. I’m still very grateful for the people I’ve met, the awesome talent I’ve been exposed to, and some pretty neat merchandise I’ve collected. Even if I’m not as big of a fan as I once was (on top of being slightly more cynical), I’ll always appreciate Channel Awesome’s community for helping make those first few years as an adult more enjoyable.