Tuesday, October 23, 2012


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.


  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.

  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.

  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.

  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...

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

  6. Time flies, alright.

  7. 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.