From Gopher to Twitter, the Internet Fuels Socialization
Before the Barbarian Group VIP party which followed the ROFLcon conference held last Friday and Saturday at Cambridge's MIT, the crew from Our American Shelf Life, Amanda Mooney, Amy Yen, Sarah Hutton, Will Wheeler, laura Nelson, Maria Garcia and Patrick Richardson along with myself, met for dinner at Boston's Sonsie restaurant on Newbury Street.
Between sips of martinis, bites of salmon and appetizer goodness, there was talk of Facebook, Twitter, the origin of Adrants, MySpace angles and why social media really isn't anything more than a shift in the way people use readily available media to interact with others. All of which you will soon see on video.
The crew from Our American Shelf Life examines what it means to "grow up digital" for lack of a better descriptor. If you're 21 years old or younger, you don't know life before the internet. It was always there and it has a prominent place in your life. It's not that it doesn't have a prominent place in the lives of people older than 21 -- but for those who grew up with it, there is no distinction between pre and post internet life.
For me, who is, shall we say, a bit older than 21 and who definitely had a pre-internet life, the internet and the social aspects that come with it have transformed my life in ways I never thought possible. From the day an early model Mac was placed on my desk -- which I thought would have been put to better use as a doorstop -- to three days later when I realized I simply couldn't live life without it, I was changed. I couldn't get enough. I was on AOL before it had 500,000 members. I was into the cool but now obscure things like Gopher and Archie and Veronica and Usenet and telnet and BBSs. Compuserve. Prodigy. Geocities. Even Apple's short-lived version of an AOL-like world.
The most dramatic aspect of the internet for me is its ability to connect people almost as intensely and personally as can a real life meetup. I can honestly call hundreds of people from all over the world whom I've never physically met friends and feel I know them better than my neighbor who I see every day. Singly, that's the biggest effect the internet has had on my life. Among other changes it's made, the internet socialized me in ways I'd never experienced before. Without the internet, I would have no life. OK, so that's a bit extreme but an internet-less life is unimaginable to me.