Friday, May 1, 2009

WWW & Cell Phones: How'd we get hooked?

Since I think it's pretty clear that we're all big fans of the ol' internet, I thought it would be fun to talk about how we all came to be the addicts we are. Along the same lines, cell phones, which are rapidly becoming mini computers to link us to... the internet. We are almost always connected these days, all the time. It's kind of crazy, right?

The other day a friend and I were talking about how all high school and college kids these days seem to own cell phones, and how we didn't have cell phones in college. I got my first cell phone when I was about 25, I think. Well, that's not entirely true, because my dad had one of those first gigantic cellular phones that came in its own suitcase, and had a big old magnetic antenna that you had to affix to the outside of your car in order to get a signal. You know, like Gordon Gecko's, here, but my dad's even had a CORD.

Nowadays I always have my phone on me, and if I forget it or can't find it I panic a little bit. And I'm not as bad as a lot of my friends! I actually turn mine off around dinner time and don't turn it back on till the next day. GASP! I even occasionally let my battery run out! Wild old Bev, that's me!

Now, back to the interwebs. When did you first get involved? What were your early experiences with the world wide web? Here's mine:

In college I worked at the medical library. I started in Circulation and then got moved into a dark little room in the basement with a foursome of pretty cool women who worked in Periodicals and Inter-library Loan. My job was pretty easy; I opened the medical journals that were mailed to the library, checked them in on a computer database, put the magnetic tattletape strips in, and shelved them. I also had to reshelve all of the big hardcover medical journals a few times a week, which I kind of enjoyed because I'm a nerd and I like alphabetizing things. (blush)

Then, one summer, they gave me my very own cubicle with a computer, and it was like the heavens opened up and a chorus of angels started singing. I was hooked up to UVM's little network, and I quickly discovered the wonders of email (my first email address: - I still remember it!). Then, I found newsgroups. Ooooh, baby, did I like newsgroups. Basically, this was before Windows and other operating systems, so it pretty much looked like DOS - just text on a screen. But, newsgroups were the precursor of today's message boards/online forums, and I WAS HOOKED.

My favorite was called alt-angst, and it was full of mopey depressorinos and emo college kids like myself. I didn't post much, but I read and read and read in my little cubicle, letting my hands do their work with the periodicals as if I was on auto-pilot.I made my first e-buddies and got my first e-admirer, a guy named Graham who was in England and thought I was neat. We even exchanged pictures and he called me a few times, but I admit that I blew him off after a while. Poor guy - hopefully he had better luck once eHarmony etc. came to be. ;-) Anywho, I was hooked on the internet. I think this was 1994 or '95. Eventually I got a home computer that looked a little something like this ------>

By the time the millennium rolled around, I was thoroughly ensconced online. In the last 9 years I've made excellent friends from all around the country and world. I've been a member of one particular private message board for the last 7 years, and I consider those people honest to goodness friends of mine. We've even had a couple of gatherings; one in DC in 2004:

and another that I organized in Boston in 2006:

These days, you all know I'm a certifiable crackhead. I spend pretty much all day online thanks to my ridiculously dull job and lenient boss, and discovering blogging has granted me a creative outlet that had previously eluded me. I've avoided getting mobile web on my phone until now, but I'm actually eyeballing the Blackberry as we speak; it's just a matter of time.

So, speak - please tell me how you got where you are. What year did you get involved? What were your first experiences with the internet? Inquiring minds want to know!


Samsmama said...

First, I dig alphabetizing!

Alright, here's where I admit my lameness. I have only really gotten involved in the last 2-3 years. I've had roommates or lived with guys that had computers, but never my own. My ex and I got a hand-me-down from my dad, but I never used it. When he got the boot (March, '06) I started messing around it. Mainly for boring things. I've really only gotten addicted in the last year.

As for my phone? I had a text fascination for awhile. I'm over it. After realizing that I average 12 minutes of cell use a month, I switched to a prepaid phone. It's probably in my purse, I don't know. I'm sure it's dead.

Danielle said...

when i started college in 1998, my parents bought me my very OWN computer for school. i had a school email address and an aol account that my parents paid for. i was a big fan of aol instant messenger...i think it single-handedly ruined my academics my freshman year of college. mostly because i was chatting NONSTOP with a boy from a different college at all hours of the day and night (that is when i wasn't at his college engaging in often immoral and even more often illegal shenanigans).i also used it to keep in touch with some family members including my brother and mom and some other friends from high school. i became a true addict of web-surfing, message-boarding and blogging when my place of employment FINALLY got hooked up to the interwebs. like you, bev, i have very much downtime at work and the precious internet keeps me sane.

goodness...that was lengthy.

Frank Irwin said...

I sent my first e-mail in '84 or '85, and I was also a big user of the USEnet newsgroups. Given that, and the fact that I worked in the high-tech field from '89, I never owned a computer until 2001 (and it came with Windows ME. blech).

I still don't own a cell phone.

Mala said...

Technologically speaking, I'm that car that takes a good 5 miles of driving in the breakdown lane (with the left blinker on full force) before finally merging onto the information highway.
I think my first time stepping onto the great big www, was when I ordered myself a webtv. Yup, straight off the infomercial. That was 1998. I kept that bitch until, like 2001. OMG, going from webtv to a real bonifide computer was like being shot into warp speed! More than 1 window open at a time? SHUT UP!
As for the cell, again I started with babysteps. I got a pager. Sucked for making outgoing calls, but whatev. Baby steps, remember? After about 2 years I finally got a real cell phone in like, 1999.
And it's been only the past year that I've discovered texting.

Steph said...

I tried to leave a comment. Blogger ate it and gave me some Whoops! Sorry! message. My first comment was long and dull, so I'm going to take that glitch as a sign.

You people are killing me re: phones. My sweet little baby goes everywhere with me. iPhone is my favorite child. (Don't tell the other kids.)

Matter Of Fact Mommy said...

love the GIANT "car phone" michael douglas is holding... too funny. i heart the 80s.

my mom was in real estate in the late 80s and had a computer with a modem. my brother and i soon learned how to create our very own BBS (bulletin board system), read others and even chat. so i'd say my addiction started around 1989 with some long breaks here and there. starting work for an IT company in 1996 pretty much sealed the deal.

cell phone--
i could take it or leave it. i don't text much because i have The World's Shittiest Phone for Texting, aka the Motorola Razr.

Pam said...

My Dad had one of those giant phones too! So funny!

I didn't really get into the internet for awhile...probably late 90s. I bought a computer because my best friend pretty much made me. I didn't use it too much at first but now, well that's a different story. Cell phone - totally not into it really. I have one - cheapest plan possible and I have texted once. I rarely answer it - don't have any voicemail or anything.

Cary said...


Porn drives all technological advancements.

Harmony said...

Cary ~ LMAO! I think there is great truth in that.

We had internet before I found any use for it, outside the random search. *sigh* My first "big" internet experience was with Myspace...about two years ago. But I didn't really start meeting "new interesting people" until I started blogging...which Audra forced me to do. Well not so much force, as making me feel like I was missing out on something wonderful on a daily basis.

Bev said...

Samsmama - Newbie! :-* Don't worry, I love you anyway, and you are OBVIOUSLY a quick study! Look at you go with your 40 some-odd (very odd) followers!

Danielle - oh yeah, I used to be a huge fan of the IM. Then I got fired. No, just kidding, but I definitely am more productive w/out chatting in my life!

Frank - you win! You've definitely been textually-active (hee!) longer than the rest of us schlubs! But, no cell phone?! How ever do you arrange your booty calls?

Mala - I totally remember your pager and your web tv! WTF - were you dealing drugs?! If you watched 30 Rock (ahem) you'd know I have the perfect joke about Liz Lemon's ex, who still sells pagers....

Steph - I apologize for my faulty blogging template. BASTARDS! Also, I covet the iPhone. Seriously, completely. Covet.

MOFM - We probably met in the 90's and don't even know it. ;) Also, I had a Razr for a while and HATED it. Piece o' junk, and nothing's where it should be. Decent camera, tho.

Pam, I thought all phones had voicemail? LOL! Maybe I'm more into my cell phone than I thought I was. (scratching head)

Cary - concise as always. And yes, porn is cool. Well, some porn. But that's another post for another day.

Harmony - I had a MySpace too. In fact, I probably still do, but I haven't been there in months. I liked it for a while, though! And I'll have to thank Audra for getting you into blogging! :)

Frank Irwin said...

Hmmmm...Bev, you may have a point. Is there a Booty app for the iPhone? That just may push me over.

Blasé said...

That last pic (brunette with dark dress and big knockers)...

She looks like Marie Osmond with Down's Syndrome. Still, she looks HOT...and I'd dance with that Baby-Doll any day of the week. WHOOOoo!

Bev said...

Frank, something tells me that there is. ;) Investigate and let me know.

Blase' - You just made me spit coffee out onto my keyboard! Holy crap!! My poor friend! She's Canadian, eh, so maybe that's why. *ducking* Sorry, Pam!

Incidently, my son saw that pic last night and told me that the girl in the green t-shirt looked like Edna Crabapple. HA!

Pam said...

OK, at first I thought you were referring to a pic of ME. I was so confused. Now I see you are just saying sorry for being Canadian please don't apologize for being Canadian. :)

And no, no voicemail or call display on cell. You must be hooked!

Jillinator said...

sigh - I hate to admit that in the early/mid 90's I got hooked up to the internet for pretty much the same reason as Cary... I was very curious about porn and too shy (usually) to go to a store and get it (other than the video place - then I had two separate ones... one for my regular videos and one for just the naughty stuff... that place in Merrimack must have thought I was a FREAK). Luckily I'm over the overwhelming curiosity and now I just love to connect using it.
As for phones... probably had one about 10 yrs and now I have that moment of panic if I can't immediately locate it. I don't use it a lot but I am very uncomfortable if I don't have the option to use it.

Bev said...

Pam, Canada totally rocks! :) Eh?

Jill, I love you for admitting that!!!! I also fucking LOVE that you were a regular at the local porn shops. I didn't even KNOW there was a shop in Merrimack. Jebus. You RULE!

Audra said...

I love putting things in good order too, just don't have the patience anymore.

I got started using the internet around 97, then got involved in an online game where I met my husband. I used the internet recreationaly after that until I became a stay at home mom, then I was hooked like a trout.

jessica o said...

Fuck, I can't remember what I was going to say...oh I remember.

I have a Blackberry, which I lovingly refer to as my dingleberry. It's great. Get an iPhone.

Sorry I was gone. New job and shit.