Five years (actually, a lot more)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
(warning, long personal history story ahead)
(but also a giveaway too!)

It’s hard for me to remember a time that we didn’t have a computer in the house.  I am lucky.  My dad basically had a personal computer from the time that they were first accessible to a middle class family.

In the mid 80’s we had just moved back to Canada (to BC, specifically) after some time in South Korea, and I distinctly remember the hum and glare of the PC in the spare bedroom. I also remember that our babysitter liked to use it.  I think I got him in trouble when I told on him.  But now, of course, I think, who could blame him?!

We used computers at school.  We spent a lot of time on Logo, making that turtle move around the screen.  We did typing games, learning the qwerty keyboard. 

We moved to Ontario.  In grade 6 (we’re up to 1988/89 now), I attempted to use a computer program to design class newsletter with some friends as an extra-credit project. 

In high school, typing class was done on typewriters.  Seriously.  We must have been one of the last classes to do that (it was 1991/92).  I at least hope we were one of the last classes to do that.

Fast forward to the end of high school.  Now we’re talking 1995 and 1996.  I’m very interested in what’s going on on-line because there suddenly is an ‘on-line’.  My dad has CompuServe  at home.  Why yes, I remember the ‘internet’ before there was colour and graphics.  I got addicted to it.  I probably need to win the lottery to pay back the old phone bills.  It was dial up, and it was expensive.  But it was so addictive – it was conversations about music I was listening to, it was interesting new people to talk to in a new way.

At school, there was an announcement that we now had our own email address.  As in, ONE student email address for the entire student body, not 2000 individual addresses. I didn’t quite get why I couldn’t use that address to sign up to SloanNet(when it was a proper listserv and not a yahoo group) and receive messages.  I did eventually sign up properly once I got my hotmail account in 1996.   (As an aside, there is an archive of those messages online and it’s really embarrassing to read an email you wrote in 1996).

A nice English teacher set up a group called Poetry Bytes, which was a new way to share creative writing by using an internal email-like messaging system at the school.  A good friend and I joined, and basically used it to chat.  It was hilarious. I felt bad, so I posted about one lame poem a month, but it was really about electronic communication.  (Awesome!  I just found a little article about it!)

The next year, I was at university and I was getting even more interested in this community-aspect of online communication.  I ended up using ‘women and the internet’ as an essay topic for both Women’s Studies and Media Studies courses. I bought Nattering on the Net and cited it many times. I designed a rudimentary website with a friend as part of one of those projects.

Okay, enough history.  I could go on.  And on.  I already have.

*

The history of this blog is shorter.

I moved to England in 2002 and wanted a way to connect with friends and family back home, to share photos, etc.  I started off with a tripod.com site.  I then started reading the blogof a friend of mine (Hi Jamie!). She inspired me. I decided on Blogger/blogspot and away I went.  Five years ago this week.

(so five years ago I had just been to Egypt with Mark.  Nice.  Sigh.)

It wasn’t until the kids arrived, however, that I really started discovering, or re-discovering as it has its roots in that early stuff, the blogging community.

It wasn’t until my return to Canada and my second mat leave that I expanded my horizons and started reading many, many different blogs.  My blogroll on here is sorely out of date.  Twitter (which I’ve now been on for 2 years) has helped immensely with this.  Well, helped isn’t really the word when it now takes up so much of my time…in a good way…

It wasn’t until recently that I actually met anyone whose blog I read – there are people I have been reading for years that I have incredibly never met in real life, yet I know so much about them.

I don’t place much importance onto anniversaries normally – there’s nothing more special about this week than last week – but I guess it means I’m thinking about all of this stuff, and taking the opportunity to write it down.

*

My own way of noting this anniversary is to get to BlogHer in July, to meet more people, to listen, to talk about this ‘thing’ that we do.  And another way, to say thanks to all 10 of you reading this drivel, a little anniversary present (for you, and for the greater good):

  • For you, a $20 Canadian gift certificate for Oliver’s Labels.  Labels aren’t just for kids – check out the designs they offer, for those inclined to organize or not lose things.  They deliver anywhere; it’s not limited to Canada (and a big thanks to the company for offering this up).
  • And for the greater good I’ll donate $20 Canadian to charity of your choice (anywhere you wish).

Just leave me a comment and say hi! Or just grunt or something. And make sure you provide your email address.  I’ll contact you after I do one of those random number selector thingys to pick a winner.  Deadline to enter is Friday, May 22nd 2009 at 23:59 EST.

*

In a way, I don’t know how to not be on the computer, to not be online. I’ve been here so long.  I can’t even engage in a conversation that asks whether or not my family should be online.  It’s 2009 now – I don’t know any other way to be, for better or worse.  So here we are.

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14 Responses to “Five years (actually, a lot more)”

  1. Vic Says:

    It’s quite scary when you look back and see how far these funny computerey things have come in such a relatively short space of time.
    Happy blog anniversary!

  2. Sandy Says:

    Hey Emma,

    It was great to see you all on the weekend. Happy 5th!! :o)

  3. Maria Says:

    Wow, five years! I am happy to be one of your “regulars” and lucky enough to have you as a “real life” friend. Hope to see you soon x

  4. Jen Says:

    Hey Emma, interesting post, brought me back to our early days of university and all the changes in both of our lives since then…anyways, keep writing, I’ll keep reading 🙂 Take care, Jen

  5. Sueellen Says:

    What a great story! I remember being so excited about having dial up and AOL! I started reading you just before your move back to Canada and although I am not a big commenter I am around!

  6. 1001petals Says:

    I’m curious why you decided to move back to Canada. Was it just a better cost of living?


  7. Congratulations on the 5th anniversary of your blog. It takes dedication to keep at it and keep it interesting, as you do.

  8. Shannon Says:

    Love this entry!! I can think back to the olden days when I was using ancient computers at home and school,, getting my first email address on Freenet (no graphic internet, wha???!!), Tripod, etc. And here we are now. Our kids will never experience that! Or believe us! LOL

  9. Samantha Says:

    Oh Poetry Bytes – You can call me Al
    I still laugh when I think of you opening 237 messages – and the doogie howser comment!! 🙂

  10. mel Says:

    Congrats on your 5th anniversary!

    This post brought back some memories. Pre-GUI internet! Listservs! My then-boyfriend-now-husband and I had a long-distance relationship for a year in 1992 and we used to email each other daily. I had a university email account and used to dash to the computer lab between classes to check email. And the software company he was working for had just got email 🙂

  11. SCM Says:

    Happy Anniversary.
    I enjoyed the read.

  12. Emma Says:

    I secretly would love to go to BlogHer, just to see all the catfights!

    Your school really must have been one of the last to go to computers. I started Grade 10 in 1988 and typing was taken in the computer lab. It is funny for me to think that there was no world wide web when my daughter was born. How far we have come in just a few short years.

  13. Cristen Says:

    hey Emma, cute post! I took typing on typewriters in grade 10 in 1990.


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