Social Networking: A Brief History 2

emily at age 6


I grew up in social media.
I grew up ON social media?
What’s the way to say this?



Elementary school:

Dad brought home the TI-994a home computer, pitting my five siblings and I against each other as we vied for time slots with the controls to play games like Parsec, TI Invaders, Alpiner, and a mouse maze game called A-Maze-ing. The social aspect of playing side by side, watching what others did to beat levels, and playing against one another was born.

My brother set up his own BBS and we began playing with posting content on walls that were seen by other people connected to the Bulletin Board System. I learned what SysOps were, and chatted with other computer hobbyists through a modem connection. ASCII art was big at this time.

I took a small interest in learning DOS programming, mostly running lines that changed the colors of text and created repeating lines that read things like, “Emily is Awesome.” I would probably use DOS to do the same exact thing today.

Next, came Nintendo. I have so much to say about Nintendo I am going to leave it out of this post. ….Another day.


Middle school:

The internet itself was also kind of in its middle school stage at this point. Prodigy, AOL, and other internet providers started providing all of us with chat rooms, forums, and social games. Soon, each of us had a “screen name” and couldn’t bear to walk away from the computer for more than five minutes, because the chat rooms and talking to friends was completely addicting and new. I kept my screen name through college!

Game consoles started improving and evolving. Nintendo’s competitors (Sega, Commodore 64) started showing up in my friends’ living rooms. I first learned about Mac computers but found them completely confusing and I could barely operate them.

Artificial intelligence programs like Dr. Sbaitso, and games like DOOM began pushing the entertainment envelope for us, and computers started to become available inside the classroom. This led to a lot of goofing around at the expense of our teachers. There was a definite camaraderie among my classmates who were all playing games like Nibbles, with terrible graphics but boasting the appeal of besting each others’ scores and the distraction of a mindless activity.

What kinds of things were YOU doing in Middle School?  Am I as nerdy as I think I am?



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