Huge changes in social an economic fortunes have in the past been driven by hot-house environments. It happened in Aberdeen and Edinburgh in the 18th Century, and in Warsaw in the 19th Century, and in California in the 20th Century. That's the principle behind the organisation of companies like Google.
Essentially groups of people found that by talking together, they inspired the best in each other and they opened up new areas of interest and found new questions to answer. Almost every one of these now famous people were amateurs in their field, some were well educated but many were not. What was important to each of them was to win a place as a recognised member of their chosen group.
This has relevance to us today. In a global world, who are your peers, the people who share your interests and dreams? In the interpersonal world of the past, you may never have met anyone who really shared your special passion. But today no matter what you aspire to, finding someone else to share that dream with shouldn't be too difficult.
This is the value of joining online social networks. You get a chance to see who your peers are. To discover how other people are thinking about the things that interest you.
A safe easy way to meet other people online, is to look for ways you can help them. At the same time of course don't be frightened to ask for help yourself. You'll find that far from being scary places, most social networks are in fact great helping circles.
There is a gift they can give you that's priceless. If you interact with them, so that get to know you, they will tell you a great deal about who you are and what you are good at.