I do love the way the internet allows people to indulge their personal passions and obsessions, for all to see. I'm not talking about anything sleazy here, but the way people's personal interests or hobbies that may have been hidden away before are now given full rein and public exposure. I've been struck recently by how much time and loving care must be lavished by people on creating material for their own pleasure, for YouTube videos, websites or blogs. I probably ought to find some examples, but can't think of any at present...
I was poking about yesterday on YouTube on a personal musical nostalgia trip of bands I'd seen or wished I'd seen, or any old stuff really. Major procrastination on my part probably... One user had loads of David Cassidy videos, clips from the Partridge Family TV show, as well as her own slideshows with musical accompaniment. I was thinking that a longstanding fan like her must have previously had collections of photos or memorabilia hidden away in boxes, magazines or scrapbooks, plus a collection of albums, on vinyl or CD, though nobody would know she had it. Now it's all reusable in a different form and made accessible to many more interested people. Even collections of 3D objects can be used for something.
I don't know why, but I find the idea of people feverishly slogging away at their computers on their pet projects quite endearing. I like the way so much effort must have been spent creating sites and videos for a presumably quite specialist audience- it must take ages to transfer old VHS clips to a YouTube-friendly format, but I'm glad people do, as it's nice to be able to share old footage with other enthusiasts, and they probably have a better knowledge and attention to detail than many 'official' sites. 'Fan-dom' seems quite obsessive sometimes, though probably harmless in the wider scheme of things.
I suppose it's stating the obvious really, but the growth of the internet and all its related digital bits must have taken private collections and interests to another level that wouldn't have existed before the technology and 'user generated content' became easily mastered. It lets one indulge one's inner anorak tendencies, as you're no longer alone in your obscure passion. I half wish I had an obsession that would drive me to create some new web-based thing, but I don't. I like other people's strangely diverse enthusiasms though.