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?