I first started using a computer for elementary school projects. I used Word to type and print clean text for my reports and presentation posters. I got more sophisticated with brochures and digital presentations through high school. It wasn’t until senior year of high school that I got my own Hotmail account and started learning the basics of how websites were built.
Over the next year, I engaged in the MySpace craze which taught me how to communicate online with friends, how to spot and block “fake” profiles, and most importantly, I started learning how to write and edit HTML. I would prefer not to know how many hours of my life were consumed by pouring over lines of code just so I could reposition text boxes and add interesting icons to my page.
It was sometime after starting college in 2006 that I discovered Facebook. It was cleaner than flashing, music blasting, mirror-pic MySpace. Bonus was it could only be used by students with .edu emails. What a concept! Facebook won and MySpace became musician territory (until it lost to YouTube and Rupert Murdoch confessed, “MySpace is a work in progress”).
2006 was also the year that Twitter launched, but it wouldn’t catch on until a positive SXSW showing in 2007. I didn’t even hear about it until 2008 and resisted signing up until 2010 when I participated with in-class tweets for my public relations course.
Needless to say, my four years in college where also the biggest years for social media. I don’t even know if that was an official term prior to ’06, but it certainly wasn’t something people discussed every day. Sales went online. News went online. Web design improved. Text wasn’t just text, it took you somewhere else. Links were for articles. Videos for entertainment. Photos went to Flickr. What is Hotmail or AOL? Ask a 12 year old; they won’t know.
Email is still relevant, but now it must be mobile, personal, and offer things Dropbox cannot. With a thousand ways to share, everyone is living in the clouds, by the satellites, which transmit data to be viewed anywhere but the place you expect.
I first started using the computer when I was 8 years old. I wonder when the computer will start using me.