Ten years ago, if you had told me what a big stupid tangle of interwebs I’d be in, I would have called you an idiot and taken your name out of my cell phone… well, perhaps not to that extent, but looking at a timeline of my internet travels to see just how quickly this has all come along, it’s a little nuts.
1991-4-ish:Starting in late elementary school and middle school I remember being “online.” First Prodigy, then AOL – those minutes that dad purchased for the family were so very precious. Luckily, dad worked in the computer industry (selling Apple computers), so I was able to experience the technologies and fancy computers from the future that my friends didn’t really have (since he knew they were “valid”). I don’t recall much about the net back then except chat rooms, where the majority of the interaction included the asking and answering of “A/S/L?” At the time, that was great technology put to great use.
1998-ish: I became focused on AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ. This was late HS/college, so I was able to keep in great touch with my friends as we separated to go to different schools. This time frame was also around the advent of Napster, so I was able to take full advantage of the dorm’s unlimited internet access to start my collection of all the music in the world.
At that time, I was still using books to research projects about 50% of the time, and the teaching theater would produce an audible mass-sigh when told that we had to have at least THREE citable references that were BOOKS… books with actual PAGES. Going to the library to do research was already something that was becoming outdated by the time I was in college.
Around that same time period, I became involved with a website called PicRave. Enter my social networking career. PicRave was an all-consuming effort in interweb interaction which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was what I remember to be a combo between something like hotornot and facebook. You were allotted a number of votes each week which you were allowed to give out as you saw fit, and everyone was placed on a ranked scale. I posted pictures, participated in the site’s forums, got into internet fights, and even met up with some of the Texas people a few times. I also didn’t tell anyone about it – I was a closeted PicRave user. Only my boyfriend at the time knew that I was on the site, and only because he was on it as well… eventually we realized that a good majority of the people were either crazy or fake and stopped going to the site. However, that site had quite an eclectic batch on it – the people that I still know from there have done some interesting things: one was a Silver Dancer for a few years, one is currently a US Marshall, one is on one of those sporty acrobatic halftime shows, and then of course, one is making boxes for the whole world to put their shit in.
Intermission: Limewire, Skype, myspace (lots of time spent on these, all eventually tapering as I lost interest)
2006ish- facebook. Enough said. I spent and still spend too much time playing around on this site. God help the user who hasn’t set his privacy settings correctly and has wronged me, for they WILL be face-stalked. Unfortunately, I now have aunts and uncles, friends of my parents, and friends’ little sisters who are all contacts on facebook, so my crassness is controlled (stifled), which is potentially not a bad thing.
2008 – On June 4, 2008 I joined Twitter. Not too sure what motivated me – more than likely it was the general buzz of it all. I was the first of my peer group to hop on the site (and am still one of the only few), so I made friends. I found a few people whose blogs I enjoyed reading, a few restaurants in town, then more and more. Now, it’s difficult for me to fathom that I care as much as I do about the lives and goings-on of those that I interact with on a daily basis – who has lost their job, who has a sick relative, who is trying to figure out where to go to lunch. Honestly, it’s ridiculous to think of a relationship that can be built 140 characters at a time. However, I do care. I am interested in building those relationships… I miss my tweeting friends if they’re gone for more than a few days. It’s crazy, and it’s kinda cool.
Most of my IRL friends don’t understand the Twitter. I’ve tried to strong-arm them into it, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. They don’t see the immediate utility of it, don’t care to be involved in the networking of it, or just are not interested in adding another technology to their lives.
I’m pretty good at peer-pressure, though – we’ll see how long they can hold out.
There’s more – torrents, foursquare, RSS feeds, GPS things my phone can do… I can’t even imagine the crap I’ll be signing myself up for in 3 years. The least I can hope for is that I’ll be driving my hovercar while doing so.