vulcan Today at 8:04 PM
hey! i'm vulcan. thanks for having me.
svvord Today at 8:05 PM
since about when have you been on the internet?
vulcan Today at 8:07 PM
i've been lurking on the internet since i was around six or seven years old, but i never had a real online presence until i was around fourteen. i was mostly just interacting with people on wiki pages and deviantart, and my presence gradually grew from there.
svvord Today at 8:08 PM
What kind of wiki pages were you active on?
vulcan Today at 8:11 PM
mostly fandom wikis of shows i was interested in at the time! i'm not really sure why i started my online presence on wiki pages specifically, but i took a lot of comfort in the media that i was interested in, and that honestly remains true to this day. at the time, i was moving schools, and i was still relatively new to living in australia, so a combination of those factors definitely drove my need for some sort of comfort.
svvord Today at 8:12 PM
that's relatable, I definitely got more active online when I was moving to new places
what kind of other people were on the wikis with you?
vulcan Today at 8:17 PM
from what i can remember, they were generally older. they shared the same interests as me, and i didn't expect much out of an online friendship beyond that. looking back on it, those interactions didn't have much substance, but that wasn't very important to me because i just wanted people to talk to while things were getting sorted out in my real life.
svvord Today at 8:17 PM
how did your online presence grow from that and deviantart?
vulcan Today at 8:21 PM
absolutely! that still took a couple of years of trial and error. i was desperately looking for a platform where i could interact with people easily, and eventually i found myself on twitter in late 2018. i carried over my interest in art from deviantart and tumblr to twitter, and because i was able to effectively combine my interest in art and my desire to make friends, i remained active on twitter ever since.
svvord Today at 8:24 PM
did you not interact with other people much before twitter, or was twitter just better?
vulcan Today at 8:30 PM
twitter was a lot better, just because i could do so much with the platform. because i was able to make art and post it on there, i was able to grow a following relatively quickly, and gained a lot of friends through my work. but yeah, i did make attempts to interact with people on tumblr, for example, but that was really difficult for me since the layout of the website doesn't really allow for real-time interaction between users, besides DMs i guess? but i wasn't going to start a friendship that way. i was pretty active on discord in the months leading up to my transition to twitter, but i haven't kept up those relationships either. being on twitter was the first time i've ever had long-lasting friendships, online.
svvord Today at 8:31 PM
do you think you try to portray yourself or act in specific ways online?
vulcan Today at 8:37 PM
honestly, being online is where i try to be as honest in the way i depict myself as i possibly, and safely, can. i'm LGBT, and offline i currently live in an environment where i feel very unsafe to be authentic to myself, so the internet has been a sort of refuge for me. i have curated my online presence around my art, yes, but occasionally i'll talk about things that i'm passionate about, as well as show my pride in my culture and interests.
svvord Today at 8:38 PM
do you struggle keeping that separation between your online versus offline?
vulcan Today at 8:43 PM
it has gotten harder recently, just because of how much more active i've been online, but generally it's something that i'm just used to. i've hidden things from my family in the real world. i'm openly gay with my offline friends, and i've managed to sustain romantic relationships for a long time, so i've only really just transferred the tools i learnt to keep myself safe to my online life.
svvord Today at 8:44 PM
do you interact with different kinds of people online vs off it?
vulcan Today at 8:50 PM
definitely. online, there's obviously a diversity of people you can interact with, and you'll find people who have the qualities you want if you know where to look for them. i try to interact with people who share the same interests and beliefs as me, and because of the way i've designed my presence where i'm as inclusive as i possibly can be, finding people who accept me hasn't been hard at all. offline, however, you can't be as specific. while i've made some amazing friends offline, i live in a very small, very white town, and i'm surrounded by people who are very openly ignorant and bigoted. so some of my friends, unfortunately, do share some of those beliefs, and i can't do much to change their minds.
svvord Today at 8:52 PM
do you have to tailor your interactions separately between your different groups, beyond being out online ?
vulcan Today at 8:56 PM
yes. my offline friends don't have access to a lot of the spaces i interact online, because i'm honestly afraid that they'll feel that i can't handle their beliefs and that i'll appear too radical for them. so yeah, it's a bit of a juggling act between how i interact with my friends, my family, and online, while keeping all of these interactions separated.
svvord Today at 8:58 PM
yeah, that can be stressful to mind opinions, especially if there's a major difference in the "popular" opinion in different spaces
vulcan Today at 8:59 PM
haha yeah, it's very exhausting.
svvord Today at 8:59 PM
is your art also strictly divided between online and off?
vulcan Today at 9:03 PM
yeah. i've tried opening my parents up to seeing my art, but they're not very interested in seeing anything from me other than being extremely studious and having good grades. my friends, however, have seen some of the work i've made online, but i mostly try to appear more professional in my work when i'm with them, and therefore i don't show them my fanart. because of that, i try not to appear very professional in the way i present my art online.
svvord Today at 9:06 PM
you try not to appear professional in terms of being more "genuine" in presenting it, or that you do so more casually than if you didn't have to be more professional offline?
vulcan Today at 9:11 PM
i mean, i don't make art for the purpose of commodifying it and appealing to potential employers. my art is casual and strictly for fun, so i don't worry about how i present my art. though, if i'm going to be honest, it's because my finances are monitored and i'm really restricted in the amount of time i do have to make art, so at the moment i don't really have much opportunity to expand my platform
beyond just casual, fun art, even if i wanted to.
svvord Today at 9:13 PM
that makes a lot of sense, so you can't really take commission work I assume?
vulcan Today at 9:14 PM
yeah, unfortunately i can't. i've had people who've asked me for commissions, and i can't do much besides rejecting them. i can't even monetarily support my art friends either, which really sucks.
svvord Today at 9:16 PM
do you feel like you're constrained in how you're able to be online by your offline life in other ways? either because of finances or other?
vulcan Today at 9:20 PM
yeah, i'm not only restricted by my finances, but also in the amount of time i can be online. i have to stay up late at night in order to make art and interact safely under my parents' roof, and when i was living with them, being able to voice chat was very limited, so it was hard to progress some of my friendships. i live on campus now, but the fear associated with taking the risk of being online very much lingers.
svvord Today at 9:23 PM
do you feel like you've been able to enhance your online life at all now that your offline situation has started to change?
vulcan Today at 9:26 PM
absolutely! i've been able to spend more time online, and my sleeping schedule has been so much better now that i'm living on campus. but while i have those luxuries at the moment, i'm currently enrolled in a very academically rigorous degree, so i'm still pretty limited in the amount of time i have to work on my art and sustain my platform, but i'm not as stressed about being online right now, so i'm very grateful for that.
svvord Today at 9:27 PM
living Not At Home also opened doors of voice chatting for me lol
its crazy how much of a difference it can make!
vulcan Today at 9:28 PM
yeah, definitely! it's very freeing.
svvord Today at 9:30 PM
and in the opposite direction, do you feel like your online life has affected your offline?
vulcan Today at 9:36 PM
it has, despite my best efforts. when i was fifteen, my mother went through my iPad and found one of my accounts, and ever since she's done everything she can to make sure that i have absolutely no online presence, besides Facebook. she installed parent supervision software on all of my devices, and for a long time i couldn't be online. things obviously became more lenient, since i have managed to be online, but i'm still under constant monitoring. in other ways, being online has made be become more knowledgeable in arts, philosophy, sociology, and world politics, when i previously didn't have much interest in those things, and i've been able to translate what i've learnt to my interactions offline.
svvord Today at 9:40 PM
that's really upsetting, do you think you would be active or do things differently as your freedom online grows?
vulcan Today at 9:43 PM
i hope so, but at the moment that seems like a very far away concept for me, even with the freedom i have right now. it feels like i'll probably get the kind of freedom i want online when i graduate and gain more independence in my offline life. assuming i manage to not get married or whatever lol.
svvord Today at 9:44 PM
was there anything else you'd like to add or talk about?
vulcan Today at 9:49 PM
i guess i've touched on just about everything about my online life, but i do want to mention that i really appreciate that this project is drawing more attention towards how some people will need to form discrepancies in their identities online and offline, because it can be extremely hard for a lot of people to be online, especially if they want to sustain that presence and it feels like it's the only way they'll be able to live a fulfilling life. so thank you so much for this.