Never let it be said that I’m anything but your classic Geek Gurl. From deciding at the tender age of 3 I wanted to study journalism in the hopes of meeting Superman to lusting after Batgirl‘s Batbike as a child to attending my first sci-fi convention when ten, I have always reveled in my geeky side.
I might be a “child of the 80’s”, however I can’t remember a time we didn’t have a computer. I remember tape drives and writing a game in basic centered around a pizza delivery person. I recall my dad performing open heart surgery on our various computers.
And I remember the day he brought home our first modem. “1.2 baud!” His proclamation filled the air. My mother and I looked at him in confusion. “We can call other computers! It’ll be awesome!”
This is what happens when your father is a nuclear chemist, in case you wanted to know.
For the next 12 hours, my father worked to run a phone line to the computer to plug into the modem. At long last, we experienced dial tone joy. My dad proceeded to take us on a wonderful adventure of the things known as Bulletin Boards.
Ahhh ascii art. How cool we thought you were.
Ahhh $400 phone bill. How loud my mother screamed.
I was only 16, no one knew what I was talking about, but it was… AWESOME. I remember my dad spending an entire night downloading Duke Nukem, which at the time was a side scroller!
“What are you doing dad?”
“There’s this game I’m downloading. The guys at work say it’s fun.”
Flashes of WarGames shoot through my head. Lucky for us it wasn’t really like that. Whew. I’m fairly certain that I didn’t want any of my neighbours in the Northern VA area to have to pay a “professional” visit, if you know what I mean.
I created my own handle, I used the fidonet to send email, and mostly I was the epitome of Geek Gurl.
It was 1991.
At the time my dad came home with the wonder of the modem, I worked on our high school newspaper. After hearing rumor of a high school newspaper in Kansas with their own BBS. I *may have* spent hours each night writing on the message boards and talking with my other High School News Nerds. We won’t discuss the screaming when THAT phone bill arrived. Let’s just say I saw it in the mail and raced as fast as I could to dance class.
Fast Forward ten years. How far we’d progressed! By 2001 many used the internet on a daily basis with 56.6 modems. Screaming past the snail of that first modem I once used. Cable modems were growing in popularity, as was DSL. I was 26, and already I’d served as moderator on list-servs and IRC chatrooms. I used ICQ daily to converse with people all over the world and I even used a netcam for videochatting with my parents from afar. I’d also been blogging for several years, though the term blog was shiny like a newly-minted nickel.
I ran a parenting website, what would now be known as a Mommy Blog. We’d started out as a trio of young moms, struggling to raise babies with barely a cent to our names. Already, one partner was less than active due to the conflicts of her work schedule. Each month, as we debuted our new content, I’d copiously write html to archive what was up and create the entries for what was new.
It was so hard.
I remember finding the first blogging software and thinking I’d struck gold! I spent a full day installing it, and two weeks putting all of our content into the system. I then worked to create my own design, because there were no templates.
It is now 2011. I’m not quite 36 and blogging couldn’t be easier. I no longer get those questions like even five years ago. “What’s a blog and why on earth would you do that?” Mommy blogs are everywhere. There are networks and you can promote yourself through Twitter and Facebook, Google Friend Connect and Networked Blogs.
And where am I? I’m looking back at that journalism degree I never finished, but the fact I have over a decade of blogging experience. I realize the good things I did in the early days when things were tough. And I wonder what will become of my blog now.
I think maybe I should resurrect my parenting site, because it would be so timely now with our current economy.
I marvel at how far we’ve come from the simple ascii art BBS that I logged onto some 20 years ago.
I laugh at myself when I realize that my geek stature has only climbed through the years. Social Media was really and truly something destined for the likes of me.
Would I change anything? I wouldn’t mind having that degree, but I’ve done so much more than I ever dreamed possible.
I’ve traveled the country and met so many wonderful people. I’ve lived through some amazing adventures.
I wonder what will happen between now and 2021.
I can’t even imagine 2031.
**If you would like to see the fugly of trying to maintain your own blog in the Jurassic Age of Blogs, I used the WayBack Machine earlier today to find an archive of Parenting in Poverty circa 2003. We didn’t have digital cameras, our posts were still super short, but we had actual blogging software finally!**