Early March 2007 marks my reintroduction to the web. As an old-skooler who puts respect in bandwidth (read as: only do whatever you need to do in the internet, never more, whatever “need” might be), the beginning of my current ADSL period feels like going back to the future.
I have been in the future. It was 1995 and I’ve just got my first email address. I also started editing HTML using SimpleText – and this was for the whole .edu website where I worked. WYSIWYG editors were in an unforeseeable realm, and when they came around I considered them lame. I remember how I migrated from fax to email, and how my handwriting gradually worsened. A bit in between fax and email, I was using a friend’s sort of UNIX-based account in his uni.
In 1996 I started writing several online diaries under pseudonyms. I cannot recall what my motivation was – perhaps it was in the shade of wanting to practice writing everyday. Obviously it was a different motivation to when I started my personal, handwritten journal when I was a lot younger – this was a different medium.
Not long after, however, the readymade Blog came around. It turned me off. When everyone started blogging, I stopped doing online writing.
I cannot stop to think how the internet was so different then. It was like an endless prairie, and my putting a flag or flying a kite that declared my inner colors there would just be an obvious act of eventuality. “This is me.” Even under pseudonyms, “There is another me.” There were a lot of other people too, don’t get me wrong – but I had the feeling that they were doing the same thing. That we were all at the same page. It was in its truest sense an ‘imagined community.’ I had my own space, they did too. I kinda knew they were there, they sorta knew I was here. In between, there were ample space for imagination and a common dream of a borderless world.
One day, however, I saw this herd of ‘the others’ coming from all over the place. They did not know about the precedence – they did not want to even care. They also came to nail their flagpoles down, and flew their kites up. The difference was that everything was so set up for them already that there was almost no effort required. These people, I thought, were as lame as the WYSIWYGs they use. For me it was an obvious act of eventuality; for them it was not even an act. It was as though the prairie was created especially for them to breed and flourish.
At first I was fascinated. I thought the world was getting bigger. But then I thought that it was impossible for the world to get bigger. It must have been just getting more stuffed. I did not ponder any longer, I went straight out.
Then, why now?
Another good question.
Recently I started talking with my friends who stayed. They introduced me to even more current internet readymades. Things that I would have had to code with blood in loneliness back then, considering lack of skills, infrastructures, and time, are now perfectly ready for grab. Like shopping malls selling stuff for free, my wish is their command. So I tried to make friends with these readymade interfaces. That’s when I came to think that they’re kinda kewl.
Some of my pseudonymed online diaries are still there. I have no control over them as I have lost the passwords as well as the email addresses to which my replacement passwords would be sent to. But they stayed. This amazed me. They told us that after some period of inactivity the site would have been removed. But no, my kites are still in the skies – abandoned, but still riding the wind.
But hey, why now?
To be honest, I really don’t know. Maybe it’s the ADSL. Maybe it’s a general feeling of having a better, happier life. Maybe it’s a new chapter in my universe. Oh, maybe it’s the discovery of Gliese 581C. Really, I don’t know why. But what about just walking on, and discovering on the way?
Maybe that’s what this blog is about after all: to answer the why.