Hawksdomain’s Blog

Just a simple girl from Kansas

Social Networking – A Personal History Part I

Posted by Paula on February 8, 2008

Social networking is not as new as we tend to believe. Long before the phrase was coined, there were chat rooms, forums, and further back, the electronic bulletin boards. These were ways to communicate and share ideas with people with similar interests that you might not otherwise ever meet. I don’t know if there are electronic bulletin boards any longer, but there are still many chat rooms and forums covering just about any topic imaginable.

In the mid 1990s I was active in an AOL chat room for the metropolitan city I live near. I met many people through there and looking back, I would definitely call that social networking. Of course, the phrase hadn’t been coined yet, and the internet was young enough that Oprah had a show touting the dangers of meeting people from the internet in real life or sharing real life information. At that time, there was no ‘appropriate’ sites for sharing such information. There were no dating sites like eharmony or match. No one was to share anything or to trust anyone while online. Overall, this was very good advice (and still is for children and teenagers), but I never have been one to conform to what society thinks is appropriate. I think now is a good time to mention that in the mid 1990s I was a recently divorced college graduate. I do not condone children or teens giving out personal information to people they do not already know in real life – FOR ANY REASON. I also think that it is very important to say that adults should also be careful with what they put out there about themselves.

As social networking has grown into more websites than one can even imagine, it is very important to realize that we are not only sharing this info with our online friends, but that unknown people may be seeing what we do (or have done) as well. These unknown people could be bad – people who want to hurt us in any way, or they could be good – potential employers, potential loan officers, or perhaps even potential friends/romances. In March 2007, Web Worker Daily posted an article Why You May Need an Online Persona, which shows that employers are not simply looking for those embarrassing photos you posted, but they are looking to see what all is out there on you, good or bad. Having the right information out there can be the difference between getting an interview and not even being called.

But, I diverged, and as this is my first post here that is of much length at all, I should apologize… I tend to get caught up in writing and just let it all come out! In school, I learned to go back and edit myself, but I think that keeps you all from seeing exactly where I am coming from, so here, I will keep all my thoughts, provided that it is appropriate! 😉

Meeting all of these new people in the AOL chat rooms provided me with a way to meet new people in my region that had similar interests. I have always been shy, so the normal ways to meet people were just not going to work for me. I could go to a bar or a gym or something along those lines, but I’d never say a word to anyone there. By meeting people online before meeting them in person, I was able to forgo the awkward small talk trying to see if I had anything in common with these people.

One person I was very excited about meeting in person was a man who had become a good friend. He acted like my online big brother, being protective of me with the unsavory chatters. When we did meet in person, before I even said a word, I went up and hugged him. A month later we had our first kiss and two months after that we moved in together. After a couple of years, we decided to make it legal and we were married. In July we will celebrate 9 years of marriage and we are still best friends and very much in love.

This was my first experience with being social on the internet. My next experience, to be covered in Part II, doesn’t leave the same happy feelings in my heart, but it did effect me just the same.

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5 Responses to “Social Networking – A Personal History Part I”

  1. […] Social Networking – A Personal History Part I […]

  2. Virginia said

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your history. We share some similarities with our early online experiences. I try to see the positive in the Internet, but there are things (people) to be leery of. I imagine you’ll be explaining that in Part II.

  3. Look forward to seeing what you do with your new blog Paula.

    Best,
    Rich

  4. Moe said

    I found your interesting site, Hawks. Your social networking article is great……can’t wait to read the next part about forums. Hugs & Best Wishes on this endeavor for you.

  5. Thanx Moe! It means a lot to me!! 🙂 HUGS to you as well!

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