Tomorrow’s Earth Day again, and you know what that means! Well, maybe you don’t, but let’s pretend you already know that it’s my…
My mind was blown and I was wicked humbled when we topped 2,000 views last month — one day being the brunt of the views with 753…yes, in one day! (I still haven’t figured that out…and I MUST KNOW! I’m blaming a computer glitch. ;-)) Overall, we’ve had shy of 35,000 views. Considering last year we had close to 16,000 (and only around 6,000 [or 9,000, depending on who’s doing the math…which would be me…which means they’re probably both off] the year before), I’m floored. And happy. And, again, humbled. It’s just nice to know that I’m not just writing for myself. Well, I AM, but I’m not…y’know what I mean?
I thought today I’d share a story of my love affair.
Um, no. Not that one. Or any of them, for that matter.
This is the story of my long love affair with the world wide web.
When we were kids, “computer class” was all about playing Oregon Trail and maybe even typing a paper up…maybe. That was kinda it. And I loved it. My family had an ancient Mac that my dad used, but my oldest brother got to use it after Dad passed…and I don’t really remember what happened to it after that. So, our weekly computer class was pretty much the peanut butter to my jelly. Yes, I even preferred it to library. (I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my librarian in elementary school. I am TOO ready to read Little House in the Big Woods!! Forget you, lady.)
Then, one of my best friends (who happened to be better off than my family; the things we didn’t wonder or feel weird about when we were kids) got a computer. It was housed in her parents’ room, and every once in awhile we’d be allowed to use it. I can still remember that god-awful sound of the dial-up internet screeching and crackling making its eventual connection to the outside world. I loved it. I loved it more than my friend did, so I’m sure I irritated her when I’d (almost constantly) ask if we could hop on the computer almost every time I visited. The obsession had begun.
What did we do on this oh-so-new contraption? Why, go into chat rooms, of course! I look back and consider how a) stupid and b) innocent I was about those people we were talking to from, oh, everywhere.
I started to save up for my own computer, but given their extreme expense, I just couldn’t swing it. Cue my mother’s marriage to my stepdad when I was in 8th grade.
Shortly thereafter, he purchased us a laptop. A heavy, square-ish, clunky gray laptop whose fan ran at jet-level propulsion speeds and whose graphics took an hour (or more) to load. Those were the days when we’d turn it on, go let the dog out, pour some cereal, finish our social studies homework, then go back to the computer to click on Internet Explorer. Type in site (Geocities, anyone? Monkees.net? I can’t remember the other chat rooms I used; probably Yahoo), continue doing chores, let dog in, see that half of Peter Tork’s face has appeared on the computer screen, finish eating cereal…and the beat goes on.
Eventually, AIM (for those too young, it was AOL’s Instant Messenger, and it saw me through high school and college before MySpace) made communicating with friends from school insanely convenient and faster than a phone call. I got into writing some Monkees fanfic and started researching other musicians I enjoyed. Heck, I even “met” some fans and for the first time didn’t feel like quite such an outcast for my interests.
I still recall the time we got home; my mother, Jerry and I, from Christmas Eve mass. I jumped online and found (probably from Napster, of all places) an old Bing Crosby Christmas radio show (on our fancy schmancy desktop — movin’ up in the world!) that bellowed throughout the first floor of our house. It was probably one of the first times my mom didn’t despise the computer.
Years later, I’ve logged countless hours, as have many of us, on several computers. I now have a smartphone — a thing that my stepdad predicted in the ’90s would exist someday — and a brand new less-than-$500 laptop that does far more, far faster than any of the $2,000+ models of yore.
Today, I still use social media — namely Facebook, but I’m trying to learn G+, as well as Twitter (on rare occasion), Pinterest, and Instagram — but don’t have to seek out social interaction with strangers as I once did. I’m far more guarded and, hopefully, wiser about my choices on the web. I still over-share (here I am, blogging!) But, I still find my time easily getting sucked up with articles about child-rearing, blogs about how to DIY your own art, and quizzes (things never change there) about which movie character you are.
But, what’s my favorite thing to do with the WWW these days? (You know, ASIDE from taking addictive Buzzfeed quizzes.) Tied with blogging comes…
I swear, I’m 90.
It’s the weird “gotta find stuff out” research-based side of my brain meeting the romantic history-obsessed side in a glorious series of late-nighters. Yeah, the only time I can get much family tree-ing done in when Hadley’s asleep…um, and Dave. Generally next to me in bed. Snoring.
It’s an adrenaline rush when you start to see pre-Civil War (and Revolutionary War) years and names popping up. When you’re given extra reading to really LEARN the story behind the names, or when you realize that your direct ancestor is laid to rest at a famous historical cemetery that you’ve visited several times while touring Boston (or, hell, at a tiny historical cemetery less than 15 miles away at the old homestead…that I’ve never perused), it’s exhilarating. Looking up further web sites for information about historical events those names took part in helps the names to walk and move and even talk a little.
So, that’s what I’m doing thanks to good ol’ technology these days. What about you? How different is your computer experience today than it was, say, 20 years ago? Clearly, you’re reading my blog, so I want to give you a HUGE hug (you know the kind…the full-on happy squeeze one) and say “thanks!!!” with a tear in my eye for using a few minutes of your precious time stopping by.
While you’re responding below about what you’re doing on the Internet these days (um…I should say “keep it clean,” but I really don’t care ;-)), feel free to let me know what you LIKE, LOVE, and think NEEDS IMPROVING here at Meg, Acting Out. Any feedback helps SO much, guys!