Cover photo for Harry Moy

Why I love the internet

Harry Moy
"But you did meet in a public place, right?" My mum nervously asked when I told her about my two-day trip in June 2021. She was asking because the people I drank, laughed and watched football with, I had never met in person before. I knew them from the internet. Her "stranger danger" alarms were blaring, and I understood why. Meeting people from the internet was something that only recently became more accepted.

Before the internet, it would have been difficult for me to find so many people that would say "ooooh" at somebody mentioning they used a niche programming language to build a compiler. Now it's not difficult, provided you go in with positive intent.

What is positive intent on the internet?

It's about having a mindset that is open, friendly and not aggressive. Instead of bickering with people to prove you're smarter than them, block and move on. And rather than keeping to yourself, speak to people. If you see a tweet you want to expand on, reply constructively. Don't insult or demean. Most importantly, see the avatars on the screen as real people. People you can build relationships with like you would in real life.

Back in 2012, I was on a Google+ Hangout (those were the days) with a popular YouTuber. He later left the session, but many of us stayed on. From there, I spoke to a guy called Tom in Pennsylvania. We had similar interests and exchanged Google Talk details so we could continue talking to one another. We watched the Euro together later that year over Skype; we're still friends to this day.

Positive intention mixed with luck results in serendipity. Serendipity is a positive event happening by chance. The internet, in the words of David Perell, enables us to create a 'serendipity vehicle'. By that, he means a blog or a YouTube channel that we have to put work into. Although a small one, my newsletter has been the catalyst for a few conversations in Twitter DMs, which I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Later, without needing a vehicle - serendipity happened for me.

In early 2021, I took a punt. I read about On Deck, "Stanford for the Internet", and saw their writing fellowship. A few months before, I started a weekly newsletter and wanted to improve my writing. So I took a financial gamble, threw in over a grand and gave the fellowship a go. While on the fellowship, I could have focused solely on the curriculum and not spoke to my peers. But I remembered 'positive intent'. And it was life-changing. I had powerful conversations with people worldwide, such as Manish in Dubai, reminding me that failure is not the end. And George in California telling me the story of building his business (it's like the Shoe Dog of cars!), Josh in New York blowing my mind as we bounce ideas off one another and Tom in Bolton improving my DeFi knowledge. All of these conversations have changed my perspective in one way or another. And for the better. That alone made me feel like I had won a 10/1 with On Deck.

Some of those conversations blossomed into the real-life conversations that worried my mum. And hopefully, the others will too when freely travelling around the world is allowed again. The idea of going to cities around the world and meeting people I first spoke with on the internet is a mind-blowing one to me. We live in a remarkable age.

There are many people on the internet that are seizing the opportunities before them, they’re building business empires. But more importantly, friendships. And for me, it's inspirational. During the peak of the pandemic, my ex-girlfriend and I broke up. It devastated me. But with it came a new lease on life. Before I was resigned to a life that looking back, I would have ended up miserable. Without much to do and wallowing in sadness, I searched for comfort on the internet. I refined who I followed on Twitter by focusing on people, not brands. From there I talked to people, discovered more interesting people and have a refreshed perspective of social media. My Twitter experience, in tandem with On Deck, flipped my outlook on the road ahead. Never in my life have I felt as happy and optimistic as I do now. And that's thanks to the internet.

If you're not already, I highly recommend getting involved on the internet. Tweet, blog, YouTube, whatever. Put yourself out there. You never know what kind of opportunity may come your way.