Rob Gould interviewed me about my social media usage over at his Portland Press Herald Social Social blog. Rob asked about my first experiences with the Internet, which I talked a bit about there, and thought about a good deal afterward.
When I was 13 I was at my uncle’s house and he was like, Hey, let me show you this thing. He boots up his computer and he does some stuff and there is some dialing sound and a high pitched noise and he tells me that there is a phone-line in his computer. He shows me the screen where there is an open window and he says, This is the Internet.
I had already heard about and peripherally come in contact with the Internet a couple of times by then:
- When I was 10-years-old, the topic had appeared in a Weekly Reader article in which I remember students being assured, ONE DAY, THANKS TO THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY (!!), YOU WON’T EVEN HAVE TO WORK AT THE BORING, OLD OFFICE!! (And with regard to how things would turn out for me, the article was right.)
- Around that same time, I’d go over to Austin Brower’s house and he had a computer hooked up online in his room and I knew about Netscape and all that, but for the most part, Austin just played Myst a whole lot.
- In the sixth grade, our teacher brought a computer into the classroom. I may be making this up, but I remember her paying for Internet service out of her own pocket because she knew that instilling in us some degree of Internet literacy early in our schooling would offer to our class a substantial leg up but the school board didn’t understand any of it (THE WORLDWIDE WEB IS WHERE THE PEDOS HANG OUT) and wouldn’t put up any cash.
So I had been aware of the Internet before my uncle’s introduction of it, but I hadn’t had any freedom engaging with it at that point. So he just leaves me alone for hours and I go to a search engine and I run a search for Kevin Smith, which is how I found View Askew Productions’ webpage (to me, VA webmaster Ming Chen would come to feel like a competent version of Oz’s Wizard) and fast became obsessed with participating in the message board communities there. I’d sit there and post back and forth with other nerds all day and wait for fucking hours for the alternate ending to Clerks to download so I could watch that and force my friends to do the same.
From there, I’d be downloading Army of Darkness WAV files and sharing them with friends at the computer lab via floppy disc, and CONSTANTLY updating and shamelessly promoting my Netscape-Communicator-Edited Geocities website in no time.