The Inter – net Social “Bigfoot Researcher”, aka The Arm Chair Researcher
You’ve done some homework, got your email address with Yeti or Bigfoot in it, have professed that you are now a “Bigfoot Researcher” and want to advance to the second level of being a “Bigfoot Researcher” eh? No problem, this level can be attained at home, sitting at your computer and is largely self conferred. There is an element of acceptance by other “Bigfoot Researchers” to attain this level, but play nice, go with the flow, find a few advanced fourth or fifth level “Bigfoot Researchers” to worship and you are in like the famous Flynn. This level is often referred to in bigfootery as an armchair research, referring to the fact the research is done from a chair in front of a computer. This is not a bad thing, some people are limited by physical, geographic or time constraints. Some armchair researchers make significant contributions to bigfootery, things like discovering the costume used in a hoax, unearthing old articles, cataloging the burgeoning you-tube video content related to bigfootery, the list can be long.
As you may have guessed from the above, this level is all about social ties and acceptance and getting your name, and or internet handle, out there to the bigfootery masses. The growth of the inter-net has made this step much easier than in the good old days of mail, phone calls and face to face meetings.
Choose your member name and inter-net handle wisely, you want it to be descriptive, on topic and memorable. Handles are a truly individual decision, some like mystery, some like to portray something they are or pretend to be (the military handles come to mind). And some people have a bunch of them, mystery alter egos, spying, stirring it up, trying to leave a bad inter-net reputation behind, bigfootery is filled with those as well.
In the early days of the inter-net there were IRC email groups. These have been supplanted by email groups hosted by services such as yahoo. A search of yahoo groups yields 562 different groups. Admittedly bigfootery shares a certain yahoo group confusion with monster trucks, but it is still a solid 500 groups about bigfoot. Memberships range from over 2,000 people down to five, that one must be especially elite and clannish. And so your first task in moving on to the second level of “Bigfoot Researcher” is to identify some groups that have a geographical, topical (some groups are especially aggressive and tackle topics beyond bigfootery like ghosts, and the Loch Ness Monster) or other appeal to you after you read the group summary page. Since you have awarded yourself the title of “Bigfoot Researcher”, you have functional literacy and should be able to complete the registration or registration request process. Yes, because of certain paranoia’s, bad blood and elitism, many require you to apply for membership and get accepted by the list owner. By the way, to own a list all you need to do is register a group, it has the same exacting requirements one needs to be a “Bigfoot Researcher”.
Once you are accepted then the real work begins. It is always polite to say hello to your new list mates. Remember the homework about finding a favorite bigfoot film and one of the noted historical stories? Now is the time to trot that knowledge out. Here is a sample for your consideration, but remember one size does not fit all.
Hi everyone I’m Darn Tootin and really glad I was accepted on this list. I have been interested in bigfoot ever since I saw __insert your movie here__ in 1999 (an older date will give you more bigfootery street cred). I really look forward to learning more about this amazing mystery from you all, who knows perhaps our paths will cross while doing field research (remember that tip?). I have been reading the archives of the group, the discussion of Ape Canyon was fascinating. I think those old stories before the term bigfoot had even been coined, and before the P/G film, really adds credibility for bigfoot researchers.
Now that is a nice piece of bigfootery, if I must say so myself. Look how many tips I was able to squeeze into those five sentences. Two suck ups to the experienced “Bigfoot Researchers” (three if you count saying they are credible), a film and historical reference and two uses of jargon, darn near the bigfootery hat trick, or bigfootery triple double.
You should get a warm welcome to that introduction, but know your place within your new social order and slowly ease into further conversations. Study who are the sacred cows , the alpha dogs, and who is reviled. Worship the worshiped and toss a rock when they are stoning the scorned. Early on, if two or three members get into a pissing match, believe me they will and those are some of the more entertaining moments on those fairly boring yahoo groups, do not pick sides. Sit back, watch, snicker, get an idea of how extreme the owner and moderators of the list will let thing go. After anything from a few weeks to a few months you will be on your way to attaining some name recognition within the www – bigfootery arena and attaining the second level of “Bigfoot Researcher”. Chances are you may find some people who have a sense of humor you appreciate, or other interests, you can make some friends, after all that is the goal of the second level of “Bigfoot Researcher” attaining social acceptance within bigfootery.
Your journey to the second level is not complete just yet. WWW – bigfootery technology has moved along with the web and the group email application has competition. One relatively new way of social interaction, and thus the route to achieving the second level of “Bigfoot Researher”, are discussion boards. There are many discussion boards, discussion forums, and the like out there to choose from. I suggest you visit and read a few, see which ones have styles of communication that you like as some are more confrontational than others, check dates for posts to see how active they are, see if they have a number of people posting, or do a few “Bigfoot Researchers” rule the board and obviously check the topics to see if they spark interest. These boards are a good source of homework information for your first few days as a “Bigfoot Researcher” so you probably already have seen a few. As a bonus, some discussion boards under the auspices of a bigfootery group, an ideal opportunity to lay the groundwork for the third level of being a “Bigfoot Researcher”.
The same advice about getting involved in an email group applies, with the exception of an introductory post as those are rare. I find that some of the discussion forums are quite hierarchical, making a big splash early with posts will often earn you the attention of some of the guard dogs, not a good thing.
Bigfootery also has chat rooms. Sometimes they are outgrowths of email groups, discussion boards or a bigfootery group. Another source of chat rooms, getting your handle out there and building bigfootery street cred and social standing are chat rooms connected to inter-net based talk shows. Some like to call it inter-net radio, but that’s donkey hockey, radio reaches hundreds, thousands and millions, those inter-net shows reach tens. That’s a whole other topic to tackle at a later blog. Chat room strategy is similar to the above items, have a cool handle, be cordial, worship the worshipped and humor is generally appreciated.
Hanging out in some chat rooms, participating on some email groups and some discussion forms, pretty soon you will have the name/handle recognition, bigfootery street cred and social network to be considered as being a second level “Bigfoot Researcher”. There are people that haunt those places, I don’t know if they are independently wealthy, chronically unemployed, retired, or on welfare or disability, but you see them just about any time you visit; you will know them, they will know you, that’s a good measure of if you have advanced to the second level.
Extra credit can be earned at the second level by joining a bigfoot group, but that is really more of a third level activity for the “Bigfoot Researcher”. We will get into the exciting third level later, in most cases you will have to get out from behind your computer to advance at that level.