It’s been a week, or maybe two—time really has a way of getting away from me. I sat down this morning (obviously with coffee in hand!) to write a little something and was coming up blank—pulled this prompt from the app. 😉
If there was life before the internet, I don’t recall much of it.
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A quick search reveals its birth date as January 1, 1983, which coincided with the invention and adoption of Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol (TCP/IP) standards. Though it didn’t become widely available (and increasingly popular) for social, commercial, and general use until the early 1990s.
America Online was my first memorable entrance to the world wide web. I stumbled upon it while visiting at a friend’s house, and while I can’t remember the exact circumstances, I do remember the general feeling of wonderment surrounding it. A high-schooler at the time, the idea of meeting and interacting with people from all over really blew my mind.
Maybe fate was on my side two-fold that day. One in that my friend’s family had a computer and two in that that computer had a modem and was set up to dial-in to America Online.
Like nails on a chalkboard today, these old school beep-boop-buzzes were the stuff my dreams were made of back then. They brought me closer to a world free from the chains of societal expectation and conformity.
The next most comforting thing after that eventually became the “Welcome! You’ve got mail!” notification, the powerful impact of which was captured nearly perfectly in the quirky romance-comedy of a similar name starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Things have changed a lot since then. Everyone and everything seems to be constantly connected to the internet now (I talk a little bit about my relationship with the internet from a social media aspect in this post) and I’m not entirely convinced it’s for the best.
But once upon a time… it was sort of… incredible.
I do like the ease of access to information, but with the growth of disinformation, even that has become a double-edged sword.
Maybe stepping back a bit, to that period (which for me was pre-teen childhood) when idle time was more readily filled by good books, creative adventures, and fresh air wouldn’t be such a bad thing. An occasional respite from the constant buzz of a life seemingly ruled by always-on internet? (Which I see is also a prompt this week: unplugging….) 🤔