Beyond its obvious benefit to gamers, videographers, and other hobbyists, the Internet has enabled certain obscure non-media communities to flourish. Speedcubers, for example. Rapid Rubik's Cube solvers were rare for the last couple of decades, but the Internet brought a recent rush of enthusiasts. As Google engineer and speedcuber Lars Petrus explained in the documentary "Piece by Piece," a Rubik's cube fanatic is probably the only one in their city. Without the net, there's no way to find other fans. Now teens are catching on, thanks to online lessons, tips and solutions ("What's the trick?" asks another solver in "Piece by Piece." "Years of painstaking work") such as Petrus's site and the video below.
The other draw are the rapid-solving videos online, which capture the freak factor that earns millions of views.
The net has also, of course, refreshed mainstream hobbies. For example, blogs like Yarn Harlot have focused on fun projects and even encouraged "naughty knitting" (which, sadly, is only slightly more exciting than it sounds). But don't forget that it's also dragged obscure obsessions and fetishes out of the amateur zines that kept them alive, like the culture of sublimated bestiality freaks lovingly referred to as furries. In other words, every time you solve a Rubik's cube on YouTube, God kills a sexy kitten.