Remember the days of IRC, Netscape and Geocities websites? If these don’t ring a bell, you’re probably just not old enough.
I was at my second year of uni when I got introduced to the internet. My first experience of it consisted of being able to chat with random strangers online via IRC – internet relay chat. It was so amazing.
It brought me back to when I was five years old and I would go visit my mum at work. She worked for Meralco, the main electricity company in Manila, and used computers. They would plonk me in at a spare desk with a computer to amuse myself. One of her colleagues taught me how to send a message to other people in the office via the DOS system. I thought that was cool.
But IRC is a whole other level because it let me chat with someone who could have been from anywhere in the world… who had acces to a phone line, modem and computer, of course.
Remember when a message would pop up with “a/s/l” when they first start talking to you in one of the chat rooms? For those not in the know, it stood for age/sex/location. I think everyone was keen to “hook up” even back then. Tinder users today would be horrified!
I also remember my first email client – Pegasus. Hahaha gosh I am feeling soooo old right now. It certainly was nothing like what Google Mail is today.
And web design was a burgeoning industry. Or did it even exist at all yet? It’s hard to forget how terribly ugly those geocities websites were. You can check out just how bad they were in this Gizmodo article on the worst geocities websites. It was a time when the use of neon colours and blinking gifs were completely acceptable!
In comparison to the internet today, those applications seem so primitive (although hardcore ‘IT’ dudes still use IRC apparently). But you know what? It got the job done; it connected people from all around the world in an instant.
I was hooked. Day by day I found myself spending more and more time in the computer lab at Sydney uni. The dude who ran it was the one responsible for introducing me to all things internet. He was doing his PhD in Computer Science but I wasn’t even taking up computer science and had no business being there.
It was a classic case of internet addiction from the start and I ended up skipping class and going home later because I just wanted to spend as much time in the chat rooms. It’s a miracle I even passed that year!
And so this brings me back to the present and why I have some trepidation about becoming a blogger.
I remember how much being on the internet back then can suck up all your time. I mean in my 20s, if I wasn’t out with my friends, you could bet I was on the computer chatting to someone online. Today, if I am not mindful, I can find myself just going off to check my email for a couple of minutes only to come out of a social media haze 45 minutes later.
Let’s just admit it. With so many social media platforms today, you can’t just be on one. Most successful bloggers have at least three platforms they use such as WordPress, Twitter and Instagram, on top of their own personal Facebook page. They may even have another Facebook page for business purposes too. That’s already five social media platforms to update and maintain.
I have my Facebook and Pinterest accounts already. Then there’s Twitter, which I rarely use, though a friend of mine advised it’s great for complaining publicly about bad business practices so I might just start using it more. I also have Snapchat with its story mode which I find useful for documenting special days with my kids. And now I also have Instagram which I recently caved in to using about seven months ago.
So add to that a WordPress blog needing updates and maintenance, I fear I won’t have time to actually live my real life. The idea of being stuck to my laptop or being on my mobile or iPad all the time is overwhelming and frankly, unappealing.
However, I do understand it’s a matter of priority. Since blogging is the solution to my need to write, then I have to take the plunge, while ensuring I exercise discipline when it comes to all other forms of social media.
Let’s just hope I don’t get lost in a social media frenzy. If I can set limits and boundaries clearly, I should be ok… right?