I remember like if I was investigating a new girl who would possibly be my friend, I remember like, loading up their site and there was frames. And then I’d be like— If they were truly cool like you, I’d be like “Oh cool, they installed Greymatter themselves.” And if not I’m like “I know this is a LiveJournal in a frame. You can’t fool me.”
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The funny thing about using Gopher’s I don’t really remember what the stuff was that you got to. I only remember the process of jumping around and being disoriented by not being able to get back to what I was finding.
The thing I kind of miss is when it was small enough to know everybody. The thing about the MUD was actually the number of regular players I reckon was probably about fifty. And everybody knew everybody’s names. And everybody would wave when you saw somebody else was online.
I had a friend, her name was Catherine Thomas, and her parents had— They were academics, and one of them had gotten a job in New South Wales, Australia from Fairbanks, Alaska. And I remember she’d just be like, “Okay let’s meet, but I gotta go to the university and send my dad an email in Australia.” I was like what.
The Web once seemed much more a platform for creativity, exploration, and simply the idea of viewing the source of the document and using the ideas that are contained inside of it, is completely gone now. Why you can’t view the source of an app, for instance, is disheartening to me.
I basically spent all of my time posting on these Usenet forums and sort of developing relationships with people. It was a really interesting thing because it was this time where you were kind of just judged by your writing style. Like, you would think someone was hot based on how well they wrote. You didn’t know what people looked like. You didn’t know how old they were.
LiveJournal I think gave a lot— It certainly gave me my training wheels for how to engage other bits of social space. We…people I know on LJ, I think we learnt quite quickly (or probably some not as quickly as we should’ve done) where the limits of sharing and oversharing are.
It was this big responsive thing. Now it’s like…asking me shit. It’s just pinging me and buzzing me. Instead of working in that great asynchronous waiting pause, it’s this always-on assault.
For a while, I would go to bed at the normal time for like a 12 year-old, and then I would wake up at three o’clock in the morning, head downstairs, plug in the modem, dial into one of these BBSes, and spend a couple of hours chatting with strangers, before packing it up around five AM and going back to bed.
A bunch of us met up on New Year’s Eve 1996 at the show at Roseland in New York. And you know, it was so hard for me to explain to people that I was going to go meet people from the Internet and no they weren’t going to murder me, you know.