Saturday, August 12, 2017

Memories, Old Friends and Facebook

Yesterday was a rush to the past for me, and I had so much fun with it. It started in the early morning with a long-time Facebook friend putting out a post for an old group I belonged to to check in - to speak out and think about the community we once had. Before you know it, many of us had posted, reminisced, commented on the posts of others, remembered those who were no longer with us, and generally joined a rather good-sized parade walking down memory lane.

The topic snowballed. People were contacted by other friends and joined
into the conversation. It was rather amazing as the day progressed. So many
old friends and good memories. 

It was so much fun when we first got together. It was the early days of the internet - one step above the old bulletin boards, but far below the multiple social network posting options we have available to us today. These were the days when there was no massive money machine behind "Bead & Button" magazine. These were the days when "" and their beadwork section was read by thousands of us every week, everyone downloading the latest pattern and asking questions about stitching and finishing techniques. These were the early days of AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy. This was the group that I joined in 1996.

Most of us actually joined earlier than Version 5.0. I think
I joined in 1996, and 5.0 came out in 1999. As annoying as
AOL might be (and might still be in some respects), it
managed to accomplish something revolutionary and beat out
its competition over the decades. 

AOL was king in those days - sending downloadable disks into everyone's mailboxes and saturating the portal market. The competition crumpled under AOL's onslaught of advertising and their depth of news and communities. One of those communities was in their crafting section - a beaders community that chatted every day, shared tips and techniques, arranged for exchange boxes and bead swaps, and started an annual beading challenge to raise money for cancer research.

We gathered together, the AOL Beaders, at the Tucson Gem Show, the early stages of Embellishment/Bead & Button Show, and others. We rented extra rooms at the hotels for a beading room and met there after classes were finished for the day to bead, chat, and interact. Firm friendships were formed that still exist today. Yesterday, on Facebook, we joined together once more, this time in cyberspace. It was wonderful!

I'm not fond of Facebook, but I do check in every few days. Yesterday I
was checking in often, just to talk with old friends, and I ran into another
old friend on a completely different board. I haven't had so much fun
with social media in a long time. I wish it could always be like that. 

Noises were made about possibly starting a FB group just for us - those who had been together in the early days of the craft, before it had been blown apart by big business and people running after the immortal dollar sign. It might happen or it might not. Even if a new group is formed, I don't think it will have the same magic. The friends, though ... yeah. I'd join just to be in touch with my Beady Buddies one more time.

Have an awesome weekend. I'll be swimming in the 50-meter pool today, then off to work. I want my weekend, so I'm just patiently waiting for the close of business tonight (or maybe NOT so patiently). Be back on Monday *throws kisses out into cyberspace*.

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