Last night I remember the name of someone who had helped me years ago. It was about a decade or so ago, when I was going through a really bad time in my life, and needed some help. No one I knew could help me, or were even there to talk to about it, so I turned to the Internet.
Now these days you can google, Facebook, twitter, Wikipedia just about anything, sometimes with alarming results. But all those years ago, in the ale 1990’s and the early 2000’s the Internet was a very different place.
Not only was the Internet finding it’s feet, but so were the people who were using it. Many people were putting every single detail of their life out there, as if to say, “I now have access for the whole world to hear my voice, and hear it they will”. I was thankful for their decision to do this, and I made friends with a few of them.
One of those people is the name I remembered last night, so I googled them. The results showed millions of people with that name, but not the one I was looking for. So a bit more searching, with more refinements, and eventually I found them. Well not really, it was a page archived from 2003, and the only thing more recent was from 2006, where someone else asked what happened to them.
But this wasn’t a one off. After searching for this person, a few other names from back then started to show up, and it was the same case with all of them. At some point or another, they had all gone off the net, or had decided to go private with their details.
This got me thinking today. We are basically now moving into a new generation of Internet users. People who were never there during these early days of the net, who never experienced Netscape, GeoCities, etc. Yahoo Groups is quickly fading, and MySpace has been and gone like the uncle you only see at Christmas time.
For me, those times were the Internet being a kid, exploring the world, just before puberty happened. Now, it’s definitely self aware, more mindful of itself, and is thinking about it’s future. People today still post a lot of stuff on the Internet, but they seem to not be as open publicly. I know that’s the case with myself. My old blog use to have photos of me on there, and I was very open about my life. These days, I rather not let the world know the real me, so instead present a sanitised, more joyous, persona of myself. In a way the Internet is not so much a personal diary that I like to share, but more like a job where I have to be mindful of the content I write, or I get fired.
So on the off chance any of those people who helped me so long ago are still around, thank you for being there, and doing what you did, when you did it. I guess I lucked out being in the right place at the right time, when things were better, back in the good old days.