People who care passionately about something that seems unimportant to the rest of us are easy to mock. The satirical publication The Onion sometimes runs pieces by a nerdy know-it-all named Larry Groznic, who defends sacred works of geek culture. The headlines alone read like a compendium of obsessions: “When You Are Ready To Have a Serious Conversation About Green Lantern, You Have My E-Mail Address“; “I Appreciate The Muppets On A Much Deeper Level Than You“; “Now More Than Ever, Humanity Needs My Back to the Future Fan Fiction.” Part of the joke is that the internal concerns of any particular community appear picayune to the outside eye; but to be a member of a community of shared interests is to care, deeply and in detail, about things the general public doesn’t spend much time thinking about. If you want to see this effect in action sans Larry Groznic, go to a newsstand and buy a magazine on a subject you care nothing about. If you read Vogue, get Guns and Ammo; if you read Golf Digest, pick up Tiger Beat; and as you read, imagine what someone who liked that magazine would think about your interests.
— Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus