I discovered chat rooms when I was around 18. It was a whole new world and I could hardly believe that I was talking to people in different countries and time zones to me and it was around then that I fell in love with the internet. I used to listen to loads of music online, using Napster before it was shut down originally. I'd stay up all night chatting to people about nothing and everything, playing online games and keeping my Neopets alive.
I made some pretty stupid decisions early on in my 'net life, ones that I wouldn't dream about now, like the time I went out at 3am and met someone I'd been chatting with for a few hours, got in a car with them and went for a drive. I was so stupid. Nothing happened, I was fine, delivered safely home but Blimey.
Thankfully I'm now a bit more internet savvy than I was all those years ago, or is that realistically called cynical & paranoid? Unfortunately there's a lit of wierdos out there on the web. For me though, the internet was like a whole brave new world where I could reinvent myself on a daily basis if I really wanted to.
Eventually that calms down as experience continues and technology and the web weave themselves into your life if you allow them to. I've tried to keep hold of the best of the technology I've come into contact with and I feel like I've found my voice over the years too, I don't feel the need to reinvent myself 'quite' so regularly. Ok make that never now.
All those years ago, I tapped my name into askjeeves.co.uk (this was just before Google went nuts) and the results came back as a totally random collection of Michelle Macken derivatives, none of which had anything to do with me. Tap it in now and you find me. My business, my blog, my website, my profile on various websites and forums I visit, my telephone number... which incidentally hasn't changed for 12 years. See, I'm nothing if not a creature of habit.
I am convinced of the merits of the internet and social networking websites such as Facebook.com. But I also see where it could be disruptive and damaging if it became too far reaching. Keeping a handle on proper perspective and what's important, is so important.
I use the internet to define things around me, constant source of information. But I'm also aware of its dark side and try to be sensible.
But then you'd hope I'd have some perspective after 22 years online. How long have you been hanging around?
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