Sue Thomas: Famous internet people *not* from North America
I posted a version of this query on a couple of email lists (the Association of Internet Researchers and the EASA Media Anthropology Network) and received an overwhelming number of replies:
I’m looking for stories about people who have become well-known due to their involvement with the internet and who are NOT NORTH AMERICAN.
I’m seeking names and links for people outside North America who have become famous or successful in net-related R&D or business or government or law, or be influential thought-leaders, authors and critics, or are notorious for net exploitation or crime, or are fictional or gaming cyberspace characters, or online religious leaders etc etc. I have a few in mind already, of course, but my list is very short.
So, who is your country’s Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Tim O’Reilly? Your Howard Rheingold or Stewart Brand or Kevin Kelly? Your Steven Johnson or Henry Jenkins? (You will have noticed btw that these are also all male white Americans, with the possible exception of Jobs, who is half-Syrian).
Who are your internet criminals and what did they do? Do you know of any well-known stories or urban legends about the net which may or may not be true? Does your country use the internet in a very culturally-specific way? And apart from individuals themselves, I’m also interested in culture-specific stories such as haunted mobile phones in Malaysia or Chinese RPGs based on the Monkey tales.
Don’t worry if the sources are not in English as I have access to some translation resources. NB You might be quoted in a book or paper but full attribution will be given.
Within hours, I received dozens of responses about people who have been very influential in web culture within their own countries but are often little-recognized beyond them. Clearly there is a huge amount of work to be done here which goes far beyond my own research.
So I’m opening up the conversation. It will take me ages to sort and organise the responses I’ve had so far, so rather than tweet or email or facebook them, please would you just contribute your own suggestions and links in the comments below this post. That way, they’ll all stay in one place and be shared by everyone.
Many thanks to the Association of Internet Researchers and the EASA Media Anthropology Network for helping me access this flood of information. I can certainly recommend them both as fantastic research resources.