Joining the CyberWorld

I discovered email in 1996, the first year the high school I was teaching at got connected to the Internet.

I took to it naturally and hungered to communicate electronically with numerous people. I discovered the people searches and found friends and acquaintances I hadn't heard from for over 25 years or more. I discovered that many people would hardly use the medium even though they had the instant access, and I found that extremely frustrating--not even my own brother or sister would utilize this inexpensive and rapid device to keep in touch more than once in a blue moon.

I joined some listservs, just so I'd have some mail and subject matter to respond to--discovered that some lists were better than others, and discovered how misinterpretations were so easy via email, and how some people tended to "flame" you for the weirdest "off the wall" reasons, and much more.

I found the email addresses of some notable people and tried that. I discovered that I'd only get form letters at the most from the President and Vice President, that I'd get absolutely no response from my Arizona representative or Senator, and that most of these posts seemed to go to a "cyber-hell".

I even wrote Bill Gates, and was thrilled when one of his close associates wrote back assuring me that Bill had read my kind post but couldn't possibly meet with me when I would be in Seattle. (hehe) My touch with email fame came when I got two responses back from the real Roger Ebert. I almost shouted for joy at the first one and showed many of my colleagues. That response fired one of my fellow English teaching friends to get on the Internet and learn to use email. I reckon I became an email addict.

Due to my schedule I'd go back to the school late night either 9 or 10 PM and stay till midnight or later to email various places. A couple of times I was "caught" by the school security guards at 2 AM in the computer lab, so I had to negotiate with the local administrators--got it set up that I'd be there late night most nights until midnight, and eventually this worked out...though one administrator thought I was taking "advantage" of "his" school property and attempted to smear me...(I really hate petty minded administrators).

My life was never the same after being introduced to email, which led to the Internet, which led to creating web pages, which led to creating an online curriculum which included a class (and beyond) listserv, which led me to retiring WAY early from teaching and moving on to working w/ a start up computer firm that creates online coursework in the technical field.

I dropped being concerned about the vast majority of society that is still pretty acluistic about using email. I dropped the listservs that were so trite, boring, petty, and unsupportive.

I found a wonderful mailing list that accepts you and doesn't flame you for trivial pursuits--that's the Web Socks list that Barbara was so instrumental in creating.

I found others in the cyber community who are also thrilled to discover ways of communicating.

I still have a "real" life with plenty to do, but I can come back to this virtual cyber life and find other parts of me--it just requires sacrificing former TV time, which I found boring, mindless, and growth stunting.

People who haven't joined the cyber world simply cannot understand.

© copyright, 1999, John Nesbit
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