Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Roots

I first discovered the 'net in 1995;  purely by happenstance I clicked on something called "Excite" and found myself involved in a massive message board that I never did find the edges of;  there were sections for everything from politics to religion to literature to build-your-own,  and the day someone actually responded to a comment I made, I was hooked.   I don't think in the next year I watched TV for more than an hour a week.  And after that almost never. 
What appealed was the interactiveness of it, something that I think we all take for granted now;  and to watch TV after that was numbing.  Sit, stare, react, lather, rinse, repeat. 
And when I finally encountered a real debate I suddenly realized I had no idea how to react, how to respond, how to comment.  It had been probably 30 years since I had had a deep convo about anything, and suddenly here they were, all around me.

 I also encountered my first online sociopath, my first flame war (hello Harvey) my first friends (hello Harvey) and discovered the arts of diplomacy, debating, and role playing. 

I miss the structure they had then,  and the breadth.  Message boards became forums, and then splintered off into specialized arenas;  now we have a dozen or more kinds of ways to interact, from blogs to games to specialized forums to social networking.  I dont miss the flames, but I do miss the people.  Even the stinkers.

8 comments:

  1. Didn't I see you over in TheTown recently? some ancient internet folks over there! and the Cafe is still sort of sputtering along with a few hardy pioneers, some there since its early days in 1995.

    I must say I prefer my blogs, since I was a bit fed up of the crushing comments from people who really were poor readers, missed points all the time, were out only to prove themselves, with not a lot to back it up. And spare me from the ones who could not recognize irony if it bit them. ah well. and I don't miss the rampant sexism of the earlier internet, nope.

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  2. yep, I was at the Town for awhile, on and off and finally off; lot of old and former friends, lot of good folks and some doubtful; and the Cafe is still chipping away, a bit less vigorously than it once did. At the time it was really powerful my computer had a memory problem, and could only 'change pages' after a very long wait, so the exploring I wanted to do at Utne just became more effort than it was worth.

    Like you, I prefer blogs now. After a certain point message forums become repetitive; you've said the same things to the same people too many times, and it's time to move on.

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  3. I do make an exception in the case of Ravelry, though. But that's a huge site of many common interests in the fiberarts world,so perhaps it's a different hanimal.

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  4. yep, that's more of a specialty site, you probably don't get too many driveby flamers in there. It does seem the more different topics there are, the greater potential for spoilers. I love that name, btw...

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  5. /waves at Laguna (speaking of old friends from other places...)

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  6. Doesnt it. seems like yesterday (hello next oldest friend)when all of it mattered, and maybe it does, anyway. It filled a need and then moved on. I checked into Speakeasy a few weeks ago, it's utterly numbing.

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