Avoiding In-Person Interactions Since the 1980s (Or, Who Am I to Talk About Social Networks?)
What is a social media expert? This question has perplexed businesspeople panning for gold in Dem Dere Hills for centuries (okay, no, maybe just years). They hire Joe Social Consultant and he may only have two brain cells, but Joe is joining the rush with pan in hand.
Luckily, I don’t attempt to brand myself that way. I’m just someone who likes to think about technology and people, and the interaction between the two. I have no real credentials, unless you count those hours that I spent on BBSes in the 80s talking to random strangers about random things. (Why? Because, like Everest, they were there.)
Then along came PC Link, one of the first organized online services. My mom bought a subscription for me because it had a homework helper section, but I promptly ran the bill up with the discussion boards. Can you believe back in the day social networking sites charged by the minute if you went over your allotted time? (Neither could I, when my mom got the bill. She was Un.Thrilled.) This was way before the Interwebz brought you anything your brain could possibly conceive of (rainbow cats? world’s largest denim pants?) all for the flat fee of your first-born child from Comcast.
Next was Prodigy, which added in wild futuristic elements like graphics, news, and games as well as email and message boards. CRAZY! I think I mainly emailed on there. Can you believe that at one time email was innovative technology? Now Digital Natives think it’s as archaic as letter writing.
Finally, I was one of the early adopters of actual social networking site Six Degrees (no, not Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon). This was one of the first places where you signed up to talk to people you already knew online, ushering in the era of never needing to make another phone call or coffee date again.
Oh, and Friendster? Yeah, I was on that too. What ever happened to Friendster? They were the first mass social networking site, and then they blew it. I still get messages from them in my inbox every now and then, like a friend you’ve long since dropped but can’t quite bring yourself to tell.
The only site I skipped: MySpace. Could never bring myself to join that chaos. Besides, I’d already been 13 online.
So there you have my past years of convincing people in front of their own computers that they want to talk to me. When not frittering away hours on Facebook at home, I write about technology for associations.
As I mentioned, what really fascinates me is the interplay between technology and people. That brings me to social media. For about the last two years I’ve been tweeting about this blend of technology and human behavior.
So that’s probably all you wanted to know about me and much, much more. I look forward to chatting with you. Leave me a comment and tell me about your earliest memories of social networking and social media. Were you as big a dork as I was? Impossible!
And let me know if there are certain topics you’d like me to cover. It’s a little overwhelming, this social media space–there’s so much to talk about. But my goal is to provide you with unique content. That means I won’t write about something that’s been talked about by 50 other people unless I feel I can offer a fresh perspective. Because you have better things to do than read the same content rehashed a million times. Like play poker on Facebook and tweet about your lunch. Me too.
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