Growing Up Online

I'm pretty sure that my generation is, if not actually the first, then among the first to basically grow up on the Internet.

Let me explain.

I got my first personal email address (dawwww) when I was 11 years old. This back when AOL was actually just AOL (before becoming Time Warner's bitch and then the bitch formerly known as Time Warner's bitch), and at some point we signed up after the fifty million and one mailings of those stupid CDs with the latest version of what I eventually figured out was their own weird, sad web browser.

This was in the days of the 28k and 56k modems (which we'd had a little before then), although broadband was starting to come out my parents were (and are) a bunch of cheapskates who would neither get a second phone line nor buy the goddamn superfast 100kbps connection (or even an HD with 1GB freespace)...anyway, half an hour to load a flash game and reading all the text on a screen before the images are finished doesn't do much for websites, especially when you consider that this was before CSS, all the shit had to be frame or table based and when it's all HTML, each page loading all by itself, that takes extra long.

Anyway, this didn't last too long. In 8th grade (the next year) I got the first website account that I remember, blame my friends and my inveterate addiction to shooting things, even if all I was really doing was pressing the down arrow and then spacebar. It's totally embarrassing, though I swear it was mostly for the Flash games, but this would be neopets.com. My account there probably still exists, I don't know.

Which, conveniently, leads into my next point: Internet accounts don't die. Nor are they as escapable as whatever group of friends you hung out with in elementary or middle school before moving away (maybe you've found them on Facebook, but I'm sure you've made all sorts of excuses as to why you can't get back together with them). An account is forever. Sometimes, when it's obviously a kiddie website it's easy to just walk away, bla blah...but what about when it's something like Facebook?

Anyone who got it back when you needed a college email to join, and remembers the days before applications (or, seriously, Photos for that matter) has probably had at least one friend announce a wedding/engagement/pregnancy through it.

We've gotten to a stage where it's normal to expect people to send their wishes and felicitations and invitations through a messaging service, not by phone or by address (and does anyone even know each other's mail addresses these days?), but...how far does it go?

Will I still be on Facebook at the age of 50 with a thousand albums chronicling every stage of my life for anyone with access to my account? Is the Internet something that you outgrow, or is it starting to become just another facet of life like avoiding exercise and long conversations with relatives you barely remember?

I confess, I'm weirdly old-fashioned. If you want to get a story about what I've actually been doing then you'd better call me because I'm not going to type it out--how am I supposed to control the timing of the good bits? -- and I'm sure as hell not going to post it in this public blog-thing that anyone with serious searching abilities can find.

On that note, I've been here since the end of high school. An entire era of my life, for those of you who find such divisions significant or useful, is already chronicled (in one aspect) for all to see. And having the power of Twitter has probably just made things worse.

Anyway, think about it. Do you want people to find out you're dead because one of your dear relatives replaced your Facebook profile picture with your gravestone?


On a side note, we got a box of 48 Cadbury eggs. I am euphoric, and well on my way to developing coronary artery disease. Yum!

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