What’s your first memory of participating in social media?

My hair had its own area code in 2003.

I probably started participating in social media as early as 1994, when I had an AOL account. While I joined several discussion groups, though, I definitely wouldn’t have defined it as “social media” at the time.

In truth, my first memory of participating in social media was in 2003, when I signed up for Friendster. I honestly remember thinking, “this seems interesting, but I’m not sure what the hell they want me to do?” I waited weeks, I think, for people to connect with me, and it seemed pretty pointless. Then my pal Julianne Will sent me a friend request and it all started to make sense…until I said, “but why wouldn’t I just email her?”

Ten-ish years later, and it’s starting to come together. How about you? What’s your first memory of social media? How have things changed since you first joined a social media site?

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7 Responses to What’s your first memory of participating in social media?

  1. I was all over ICQ when I was younger. That would probably be my first foray into social. I also consider Napster, Kazaa and Limewire to have had a direct impact on my (online) social beginnings.

  2. I think the first thing I joined was MySpace, and only because my friend Meredith talked me into it. It looked like a big, jumbled mess to me, but I joined, added photos and started looking for friends. I joined Facebook shortly after it opened to the world beyond colleges. Howard Kurtz, then a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote about it, and I thought it sounded interesting. Still wasn’t sure what I was doing there. Then I joined Twitter, which seemed really odd to me. I really didn’t get it – but that’s why I wanted to try it. I wanted to figure it out by doing it. That’s my go-to entertainment today.

  3. ajmotia says:

    Blizzard’s Battlenet chatrooms for Diablo (the first game back in ’97), which led to mIRC, ICQ, and Yahoo! chatrooms and messenger shortly thereafter. Battlenet was my gateway drug to all others in the years that followed.

    Back in the day, there was a strong focus on anonymity. It seems we have moved away from that, perhaps due to sites that promoted being a real person (like Facebook) instead of just a screen name (like a chatroom). It was also very taboo to meet people from the internet. Only weirdos did that (*raises hand*), whereas now it seems everyone is doing it.

  4. When I was in 3rd grade, 1988/89, a friend had the internet and we used to visit chatrooms. Is that even possible? 1988? I have vivid memories of it because we were allowed to be online only 30 mins at a time since it tied up the phone lines. I also remember meeting a kid at a movie theater whom I had met in the chatroom. Whoa, stranger danger! Can you imagine allowing your 8 year old to meet someone they met online these days?

    I didn’t get my first email address until high school, 1993, and it was a yahoo account, followed by aol chatrooms. In college, 1998/99, Napster was big, and I remember “friending” people on there and chatting with them. I suppose my first official foray into social media was myspace in 2005/06. I can’t believe it’s been only 6-7 years since it hit my radar. It seems like forever.

  5. Forgot about Battlenet – for Starcraft though, not Diablo.

  6. Amber says:

    Of course, that above comment is from me… logged into the wrong account, and thus a very good example of how dangerous social media can be 🙂

  7. Julianne says:

    That was good hair, Anthony…though I think mine was still bigger.

    I may have a Friendster account out there somewhere. I used MySpace pretty heavily until I contacted my friend Anthony Juliano after I lost my job in 2007 to ask his advice, and he recommended getting on this thing called Facebook. All the cool kids were doing it, he said. Good advice, which is typical for Anthony.

    I learned about blogging and keywords while scrounging for work as a freelancer in Chicago. A wine shop hired consultants to launch a website and blog, and the wine shop owner hired me to write the blog.

    Was that really five years ago? Time flies when you’re having fun!

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