The real world mafia is empowering. If you know the right people, you can do or get anything you want. Connections make life easier, and more enjoyable as well. Also, as with the mafia, the law does not matter.

There is a subculture on the Internet that is in essence the same thing. There are a number of people that you might meet online that, if you become friends or acquaintances or whatever, can be considered true valuable connections. These people are providers, and you become one through providing as well. Let me portray an example:

The guy you met on IRC from Texas has a T3 MP3 server, right? You get full albums from him when appropriate, and then one day your friend asks if you've heard of this band. You say yes and that you have MP3s... He asks if he could get some files and you send. Your friend then spreads the word that you got shit. Eventually you become known because of your friend as this monster connection for MP3s. People ask you if you have something, and you say either "yes," or "no, but I can get it in a day."

Let's break this down. The root connection you have is the guy in Texas. His connections are you (you give him things too) and his other buddies online that exchange MP3s back and forth and around. You become your friend's connection when he asks you for the MP3s and you can deliver. Your friend then tells other people about you and you become their connection as well. It's (and I hate to say it, but) networking. Yeah, that buzzword kind. But it works. Back and forth, around, up, down, all over. You get what you want, and your friends do too. Eventually, if you need something that your friends have, you have it. It's a matter of dataflow. Unlike real world mafia, there's no cigarette trucks to steal and transport, so it's something anyone can do. You eventually come to a point that you can get any program you want, any song you want...anything. At that point in time, that plateau where all is to be had, you are indeed, one of the few, the proud, the hardcore...

You are an Internet gangster.

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