When I went to college, I received my very first email address from CSU, Sacramento. I had no idea what to do with it. The only people I knew with email addresses were the other students in my classes, and I could just talk to them. Why would I go all the way to the computer lab to email someone that lived right next door to me in the dorms? However, I did go over there to sometimes play solitaire on the computer between classes. Other than that, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about, maybe because there was no fuss.
The first time I went abroad, I lived and worked in France for three months. Every couple of weeks, I would buy a phone card and go and stand on the street at a pay phone and call my parents to let them know that I was okay, where I had been and what I was doing. I sent post cards and letters and beer labels home to my friends. I wrote in my journal and kept a box of scrapbook worthy items (mostly beer labels). There were internet cafes, but they were mostly full of people smoking and drinking coffee in front of empty computer stations. I did have an email address, but I still did not know a lot of people who had emails themselves, nor was using email as a means of communication yet a habit.
I am learning to communicate. I am still not very good at doing it vocally. However, through the means of email, I have learned to ask questions and to ask for help; I have asked people out on lunch dates that I may not have asked before; I have learned things about people that I would not have asked them about. I have made friends that I probably would not have made if I had to pick up the phone and talk to them, not only around the world, but even on a smaller scale such as around the office at work.
Both the internet and I have come very far since the 90s. I did not have that first email address until I was 18. I didn’t really use it until I was 22. And then that was ALL I used the internet for. I didn’t even own my own computer until I was 26. I didn’t need it! I went to the computer lab to study and to write papers and to do research on the internet. Now I use it to find knowledge and different worlds and great people.
The communication lines are now open.
I always wonder if I would be different if I had been a child in a world full of Internet. Would I know more or less? Would I be more outgoing or less? Would I still hand-write Thank You cards or not?
This post is part of the Write on Edge RemembeRED prompt. Today's assignment was:
Now tell me -- do YOU remember the days before the internet? When did you get your first email address? When did you actually start to use the internet regularly?