The other day, I spent an hour with Cheryl Harrison, meeting up as part of her Fast Friends experiment. (Which is an interesting experiment in ad of itself.)
One of the things we were discussing was the various ways people connect online now. I was regaling my new, young, friend with tales of having to go to Ohio State’s Computer lab to get hooked up to IRC and Usenet, using a text-only browser, etc. I’m sure I sounded a lot like a grumpy old man to her, talking about walking 5 miles to school, uphill both ways, though the snow, etc. *L*
But it occurred to me, that even then, the thing that amazed me was connecting with people from all over the world through this communication tool, and how amazing that really was. Here was a tool that allowed me to send out a message and, like dropping the proverbially pebble in a pond, watch it spread out across the world and reach people all over who were also using this tool.
Now, granted, it took quite a bit of doing to get connected back in the early 90’s. It’s quite amazing how far we’ve come in that time, both in terms of the tools beng easier to use, and also in how efficient they allow us to be. On the other hand, blogging, twittering, social networks, etc. are all about the same thing Usenet was back in the day. We’re still sending out our messages, and watching them ripple out across the ‘Net, and just like the first time someone responded to a Usenet posting in like 1993 or whatever it was, I’m still amazed at how it ripples and where it goes after I post it.
Seven plus years after starting this blog, I’m still amazed at the feedback I get about it. I’m amazed that almost 400 people follow me on Twitter, and I’m amazed at how quickly a community has built up at the Child Abuse Survivor Network in under a month’s time.
Like I said, the tools have allowed us to be so much more efficient now, and will only continue to get better over time, and the types of messages we’re sending out now have changed, but the goals are still the same. It’s still the connections, and the opportunities presented by those connections that matter.