Great Moments in Social Media (in my own life)

1990: I am given a computer for Christmas. With my 2400 baud modem (that's bits per second), I connect to the St. Louis Bulletin Board Systems. You dialed up a phone number with your 'modem' and, if no one else was connected to that computer at the time, you could leave and read messages by other people. People you didn't even know! My classmates thought I was kind of mega nerd from the future, my mother was certain I was breaking the law (how else could I be talking to people in other states without it appearing on the phone bill?), and my sister was furious at how often I tied up the phone lines.

I quickly learn I am more popular with girls 'online' than I am in real life. I get more dates that way then any other time in my life. Back then, when someone said they were a fifteen-year-old girl, they actually were. More innocent times.

1994: My college goes online. I spend an evening with my friend, looking at these strange new 'websites.' My quest for more information about the 1980s cop sitcom Sledgehammer! is finally quenched.

1996: I get my first piece of spam e-mail from a guy at the university about a furniture sale. I e-mail him to ask how he did it, but he says the university cut off his computer access for a week.

1998: I move to Mexico. My only link with home is Mexican internet service. Fifteen years ago.

2002: Stop sending me goddamn forwards! Do you know how many pesos it costs me to read those?

2002: I'm forced to abandon my hotmail account when I receive over fifty penis enlargement ads in one day (this is pre-spam filter era).

2006: I break down and get a Myspace page.

2006: I don't care about your stupid Mafia Wars thing!

2008: My first book is published. I'm forced to join Facebook. Also, my website goes online. I get my first piece of fan mail. She hits on me and my wife is not happy.

2009: Second book is published. I begin to compulsively google myself.

2012: I begin blogging for Forever Young Adult. 

2013: I write this post.


  1. Nice post keep it up.

  2. Brian,
    This really fired up the wayback machine. Thanks for the time warp vignette.

  3. Brian, I love this post! You and are probably around the same age. My journey took a brief hiatus when I had my kids in the '90's. When I went back to work, suddenlyEVERYONE had internet access at their desks. Netscape Navigator. I was so happy when a boss asked me to do research because now I could do so at my desk instead of the library.

  4. You were SO FAR ahead of me! I got Internet access in my home in, um, 2007. Not joking.

  5. I can attest you were in Mexico before 2001, my dear co-teacher, so how much more of this timeline is warped? Ni modo, I'm so picky. I'm also so glad I knew you back before you were a famous author!

  6. Whoops, you're right Lucinda, that should say 1998.

  7. Ah, yes, the screech of the dial-up modem. Good times.


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