Internet Forever

I was talking to a group of blogging friends of mine last night and posed a question: how long have you been on the internet?

There has been a computer in my home since I was very young. I actually do not have memory of a home sans computer. I have been on the internet since I was a child – maybe around 9 years old or so. My first internet service provider was Prodigy, and back then my favorite thing to do was post on the only thing I had access to – message boards. My favorite message board to frequent was a Baby-Sitter’s Club message board. Looking back on my first experiences with being online, I’m amazed at how unsupervised I was. But my parents’ generation didn’t know any better. It was really a time before people were aware that internet predators existed.

After Prodigy came AOL. Ahh, AOL. I can remember when you paid by the hour, and I can still hear the noise my dial-up modem made. Once I discovered AOL and the glory that was chatrooms, I was hooked for good. I used to spend hours (yes, hours) in chatrooms. Specifically, I would spend hours in role-playing chatrooms.

DISCLAIMER: I’m about to go like, hardcore nerd here. You have my permission to laugh. I don’t care.

My first boyfriend and his buddies tuned me in to these role-playing chatrooms. There was a whole network of people who created online characters who “lived” in a fictional realm called RhyDin (are you laughing yet?). My character was a vampire named Rina. Rina was a badass who liked to wear red and black fishnets (I was also really into the Rocky Horror Picture Show). Rina would frequent this one popular chatroom known as the Red Dragon Inn, the social hub for all of these fantasy characters to go and interact. Sometimes fights would break out, and that’s when you’d break out your digital dice and “roll” them to see who emerged triumphant. This was probably the most inconvenient time to get kicked offline, because damnit, I NEED TO KICK THE ASS OF THIS WARRIOR WHO MAY OR MAY NOT ACTUALLY BE A 400 POUND SWEATY GUY WITH A MULLET WEARING A ‘FRANKIE SAYS RELAX’ T-SHIRT.

In case all of that isn’t nerdy enough for you, I also joined a guild called the Silent Warriors of RhyDin Eternal (SWoRE. I could not make this shit up if I tried, folks). We had pretend online fighting tournaments and shit. It was through these chatrooms that I met my ex-boyfriend; the one that I would eventually move away from Chicago to Tennessee with.

Once AOL had more or less gone the way of the dodo, I moved on to other social forums like LiveJournal. I began my LiveJournal in 2001 at the age of 17. I still have it, though I haven’t been active in posting there since I started this blog four years ago. I have always been an internet geek and now that we are living in the time of social media, I’m pretty much in geek heaven. I love social media. I love having information readily available at my fingertips. I love making friendships with fellow moms and bloggers across the country that I never would have met otherwise. I still remember some of the people I met in my AOL days and wonder what they’re doing now. There is something about the internet and technology that have always had a hold on me, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

How long have you been online? What are some of your earliest memories of the internet? Do you think I’m a complete dweeb for my online role-playing?



  1. I can remember when it was a big deal because my elementary school had just gotten computers. I was in 4th grade. The 4th, 5th and 6th grade classroom each got one TRS-80. Big doings back in the 1980s. It was the next year or so that we got a personal computer at home. It was a keyboard and cpu that you hooked up to your television. There was a switch that you toggled to switch from the tv to the computer. I don’t remember for sure, but I’m pretty positive there was not a mouse.

    And I remember the very first time a friend showed me an internet chat room. Are you sitting down, Natalie,…it was when I was in college. Yep, sophomore year. And college was when I got my first email address.

    I also remember rotary phones. :-)

    And, no, I cannot call you a dweeb for online roleplaying, that would be the pot calling the kettle black. I’ve never ventured into that realm, but I’ve done plenty of things that are just as dorky.

  2. I should have said classroomS, plural. There were 3 classes in each grade. “4th, 5th and 6th grade classroom” makes it sound like I went to a very tiny school, which was not the case.

  3. Let’s see I didn’t really get on the computer until around high school back in 1996 I had heard about it but my mom never owned one and I use to play on a friends computer when I went to her house but it did not interest me. Now you can’t get me off….at all.
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  4. Please tell me you remember AOL’s Insomniacs Asylum forum. That would make my day. Also, I still have a pirated copy of FATE Ultra.
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  5. I enjoyed our dorky walk down the internet’s memory lane.
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  6. I, too, role-played online. Miari was my character’s name. She had white hair and violet eyes, and usually wore a white tank top and violet skirt. She was “handed” an inn more or less to run and care for (a chat room, yes I was a chat room running role playing nerd) as the owners ran out for some reason and never came back. This was the main room she frequented. I also played her sister. Yeah.. I’m a nerd. I met my oldest friend in those chat rooms, and several other good friends as well. And yes, looking back, my lack of supervision is shocking.

    Yay, Internet nerds!

  7. I was a little later to the internet. My family was always the last to get anything, and then I was in boarding school from 2000-2002, while my family was getting internet and learning to use it. We had Juno that took forever to dial up. I spent all my time on the Council of Elrond forums — a Lord of the Rings site. I took online courses in two Elvish languages and then hung out talking Elvish with other nerds! Good times.
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