You know, the internet is an amazing thing.
Sure, you have to sift through a lot of chaff to find anything good, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.
See, there is so much crap that it actually sets the bar low enough to give folks the courage to put stuff out there. It gives them the gumption to try putting some of their work out there, knowing that even if it's not as great as the good stuff, there's at least something definitely worse out there.
This does, of course, lead to a lot of crap. A lot of crap. With posting things on the internet being free and all, there's no filtering system in place like there is in the publishing industry and so anything and everything is on there.
But there is stuff that is mediocre. It's not fantastic, it has flaws, but it has so much potential that you like it anyway. It gets a following. The creators get practice in their craft and we get free entertainment out of it. Fanfiction, abridged series, podcasts, music, original fiction, short films, animation, blogs, all of that. For everything worth watching/reading/listening to/etc., there are a hundred ones that really aren't. But those things are worth watching/reading/listening to/etc.
I've been scouting out the forums at a few writing sites lately and watching a lot of videos on YouTube and just plain been reveling in the sheer volume of brilliance that can be exhibited there, unhindered despite their flaws. Sure, some of these never would have made it past a publisher's desk, but not always because they are hopeless.
Every endeavor will be flawed. There is no way to improve without making mistakes. But it can be hard when you're all alone. The internet gives us a place to put it out, have a community, and improve among others without actually having to face someone.
Because the internet is anonymous for the most part. I, at least, have a neurosis about showing my work to people I actually know (aside from my siblings, oddly). The anonymity is soothing. I have managed to strike up friendships with folks over the internet and we've become close, but for some reason, that wall that is put up between me and IRL people never gets built up.
I think it's because of the way the internet works and is accepting of everything thrown at it (sometimes to the point of madness). So, despite the crazy, I love you, internet.
Plug time! What has the internet brought you that you love in your deepest heart of hearts that maybe wouldn't be published anywhere but the internet?
For me, it's vloggers. And bloggers. And abridged series. And TVTropes. Thank you, denizens of the internet, for TVTropes.