Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Electronic Communication - Thinking Back Twenty Years

Communities rise and fall, it's the nature of humans to change, merge, separate or simply pass through. I've been on-line in various groups since 1996 and I've been a member of lots of different groups of people who shared similar interests. As many of my YahooGroups are shifting to different platforms, I thought back on my history on-line and those friends I've made through this electronic media who are still friends today - years and years, posts and posts later.

The first groups I joined were beading groups and I still hang out with beaders because it is a crafting love of mine, and because it is also my business. In those early days in the US there were a few choices for portals from which we could easily access the web, but also those portals held communities where we shared experiences and daily posts. After trying a couple of different portals, I finally decided on AOL and joined up with the beading group there - a strong and vocal group of mostly women more than 100 strong who had a very active community.

AOL might be a dinosaur, but I love their email so I hang
on to it and I'm using it every day. 

I'm a bit of a dinosaur in that I've kept my AOL membership as my email address through these many years. Not because it's such a great portal, but because it's convenient. I have several different email addresses that I check daily for work and for personal, and they archive everything, so I can access older exchanges easily. Also, since much of what I do is actually business related, changing email providers is problematic. But AOL's been good to me over the years and although it might be a dinosaur, it's a good dinosaur that still suits my needs.

Yahoo Groups was one of the first ways to
gather like-minded people together into a forum. 

After a few years, other things began to open up, one of which was YahooGroups. Yahoo made it really easy to make a group at the drop of a hat, send out invitations, make it a closed group or an open one, and voila - people were posting, sharing, and working with each other. I think I still belong to more than 20 groups on this forum. I killed the one that I moderated only a few weeks ago because most of the members had moved on to other venues and activity had dropped to almost none. Other groups here are stuttering, but many have moved over to other forms of social media.

Facebook is easy enough to use, but a bit over the top when
it comes to sifting through the minimal to get to the
important things. 

FaceBoook is one of the more prevalent social media venues where my groups have shifted. I check in periodically, and belong to open groups as well as closed ones. I find FB a bit like a rambunctious teenager, though. It's harder for me to reign in and really get what I'm interested in looking at coming up first in my long list of posts by friends and colleagues. But it's been a wonderful thing in other ways, allowing me to reconnect with people I had missed through the years.

I don't Tweet, I don't do Pinterest, I don't insta this or that. If  I
have any extra time, I prefer to read. I guess I'm old-fashioned
that way, even though I read electronic books. 

There are lots of other ways to waste time on-line. I do some of them - jigsaw puzzles, reading stories at SOA or on LiveJournal, or just downloading a novel for my Nook app or general e-reading app. Twenty years ago when I made my first tentative steps into the world of electronic communities, I could never have dreamed how pervasive it would become in all of our lives. I'm grateful that I've had this opportunity to reach out over the years and touch so many people in cyber or real life. It's been a joy and I look forward to another twenty years surfing through the electronic waves. Happy Tuesday to all!

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