Watch Out! Mind Leeches! #2 “Human 2.0”

By Keith W. Cunningham

“Human 2.0”

Once upon a time (1987 to be precise) in a mystical land (known to the strange creatures that inhabited it to be Hollywood) a television franchise rose from the ashes and in phoenix fire was reborn.  That franchise was Star Trek, and the new incarnation was The Next Generation.  It was set about seventy years after the original Star Trek and dealt with a brand new Enterprise, with a brand new crew, and their own mission to seek out new life and new worlds.

That has nothing to do with this article.

Ha!  See what I did there?  I fooled you.  Don’t you just feel the fool!

The only tangential connection between Star Trek: The Next Generation and the theme of this article is in the personage of one of its performers, namely Wil Wheaton, who portrayed boy genius Wesley Crusher on the show.  He was also in the movie Stand By Me, and any number of other films you can read all about on IMDB.  We’re not here to talk about his acting career, so we won’t linger.

We’re here to talk about what Wil Wheaton represents in the most unique of modern cultural paradigm shifts.  He is the most obvious example I can think of for a trend that I like to call Human 2.0.

We’ve all heard about Web 2.0 as a buzzword being bandied around.  It can be described as the changing trend in the modern Internet towards enhanced creativity, communications, and interactivity.  Basically, you can no longer be passive about the Internet.  It asks that you contribute.  A Human 2.0 (lawyers in the audience please tell me if I can copyright that term) would simply be someone who has embraced this cultural paradigm shift to its fullest extent.

In other words, Wil took the ‘Tubes by the gonads and didn’t let go.  You may turn your head and cough now.

Wil’s path to domination of the Human 2.0 landscape began when he was one of the first celebrities to become a blogger, and therefore became one of the first people to become famous AS a blogger.  This lead to print writing gigs as well as columns for online media; such as Metroblogging, The Onion AV Club, and Suicide Girls.  He didn’t stop there, though.  Between 2001 and 2004 Wil ran a forum off his blog called The Soapbox.  He’s since become active in many online communities like Propeller, Twitter, and records an occasional podcast called Radio Free Burrito.

In fact, Wil is so active online I’m sure he’s already heard about this article.  He has agents everywhere, you know?  So, Wil, if you’re reading this, let me just say, “Hi.”

A few runners up for Human 2.0 prime:

Felecia Day – Actress and writer who has worked on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.  You probably know her best for her role in the direct-to-Internet series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  She’s also the writer, producer, and star of the web series The Guild; as well as a blogger and Twitterer.  Human 2.0 Bonus Points: By far the most adorable one on this list.

Scott Kurtz – The creator of the popular web comic PvP.  He is also a blogger, Twitterer, and co-host of the Web Comics Weekly podcast.  Human 2.0 Bonus Points:  SKULL!

Kris Straub – The creator of the popular web comic Starslip (formerly Starslip Crisis).  He is also a blogger, Twitterer, and co-host of the Web Comics Weekly podcast.  Human 2.0 Bonus Points: Once trimmed his goatee to replicate Iron Man’s.

Neil Gaiman – The popular comic book writer, novelist, screenwriter, filmmaker, and cultural icon also has one of the most popular blogs online.  He is also on Twitter and has used the Internet for marketing to great effect.  Human 2.0 Bonus Points: I think he once fought a manticore.

There are many, many more.  Those are just a few to entice you.

I would like to conclude this article by inviting you to the Human 2.0 community.  The wonderful thing about the Internet today is that those closely guarded doors that the cultural gatekeepers were so controlling of have been thrown open.  You can join in on all the fun!  Go create a comic strip, a podcast, a blog, or even just a Facebook account.  The point is that now you have unprecedented control, so take advantage of it.

I would also offer a suggestion in terms of etiquette though, stealing a line from our chief subject.  Wil Wheaton says (and this is proudly declared on the top of his blog), “Don’t be a dick.”

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Keith W. Cunningham is a writer, filmmaker, and podcaster based in Milwaukee. You can follow his adventures on the Cine-Rama Podcast, The Trip Podcast, or on his website at http://www.keithwcunningham.com

He’s decided to skip Human 2.0 entirely and move on to Human 3.0.  To do this he has surgically replaced his spleen with an iPhone.

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