From Mod Mania
Steampunk is a form of modification that alters the aesthetics and form of an existing product to make it look as if it was powered by steam, the modifications usually involve a lot of bronze and can sometime involve a process known as etching which is essentially chemical engraving, these types of modifications to a product often results in a Victoria era England style look. Steampunk originated as stories of fiction, being inspired from the works of authors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
Many people consider Steampunk to be a culture, due to the popularity of it with people in the goth, punk, cybergoth and industrial sub cultures. The people who have embraced Steampunk as a culture have incorporated the “steampunk aesthetic” through fashion, home decor, and music.This widespread popularity has lead to small communities being formed around the world. The more prominent ones being located in Europe and North America. The communities are usually in the form of websites and forums, this is because the members of this community have found it easier to communicate through the internet and are able to reach to a broader range of people with different experiences in the culture.
Although I personally don’t actively participate in this community, I have discovered a few forums that have active steampunk communities. These forums welcome people with any interest in their culture, be it only because they like what the products look like to the hardcore follower.
One of these forums bi-annually publishes a magazine: http://www.steampunkmagazine.com/, the magazine is printed locally but is also available for a free download. This magazine is dedicated to promote steampunk as a culture, to bring it out as more than a sub-category of fiction. The other half of this website, the forum (http://www.steampunkmagazine.com/forum/), is a collective community of people who are located generally in Canada. These people provide tips and tricks as well as guides on how to create steampunk products. Steampunkmagazine is slightly more skewed to the local side in terms of interactivity, but is aimed at anyone who is interested.
On a more worldwide scale is a website called Brass Goggles (http://brassgoggles.co.uk/brassgoggles/), it is also a forum based community, the main distinction between these two communities is that the Brass Goggles community breaks up into smaller groups of interactivity. It is larger in scope and countries have formed their own little community groups, the members of these smaller groups depending on location are part of a sub-group who are able to “meet-up”. These sub- communities are tight nit and are eager to lend a helping hand to fellow members. Brass Goggles has members located from around the world ranging from England to Australia.
I have found that a single person is called upon for reference for these two large scale communities. This person is known as “Jake von Slatt”, it is most likely its not his real name but he is the “steampunk guru” of the web. He moderates a website (http://steampunkworkshop.com/) documenting his works and invites other steampunk modifiers as guests to add their works. He works away from the forum type community and is more intimate with his personal community by operating in a blog type environment. Jake documents his projects and does a step by step guide on how he achieved the end product, his projects regarding steampunk modding are much like something you would find on www.instructables.com.
The common ideal of these groups is to share there projects with a wider community, by doing this there culture is given exposure. Although not a big community, steampunk has reached a wide audience and by using the internet as a medium has provided communication to form a small community of followers.