Chances are you've already caught on to my "spending hours on the Internet at a time" thing, which is fine. I don't hide it. What you don't know is exactly how long it's been going on...
I started my Internet obsession at the age of thirteen sitting in my best-friend-at-the-time’s bedroom, listening to Linkin Park’s “Hybrid Theory” album, and sharing a keyboard with her as we role played. The website we used was called FusionChat, which had too many chat rooms to count. There was a Harry Potter one that I usually started out in, and eventually I would branch out to the other ones that our select group used at the time. At first we role played as part of a magic wolf pack, and we eventually created Warrior characters who fought battles and defended our loved ones. This is the first time that I was exposed to a sense of “online community;” we had a tight knit group of people with whom we role played and whined to and chatted with and fell in love with. I’ve fallen out of touch with several of these people, and still cherish the ones who are nice enough to keep in touch. After about four years, FusionChat was knocked off of my radar and eventually disappeared. I catch myself wondering what happened to all of these people, and honestly hope that life has treated them well within these past few years.
(Side note: I recently found countless journals with things related to this time period. That was a strange, yet oddly fulfilling, time.)
Toward the end of my role playing phase, I started a Diaryland blog that I typed in without hesitation or reservation from the ages of fifteen to twenty. It was here that I whined about my relationships and heartaches, talked about my family drama extensively, rode out my depression by writing slightly disturbing prose, typed with atrocious grammar and terrible spelling, and left nothing to the imagination. For five years I was anonymous to anyone who didn’t know that this blog, written by Kimmios, was actually by me. I took the time last summer to go back and read it, and ended up saving all of the posts in a word document on my desktop and deleting them from the blog one by one. I typed a hasty entry about how I would delete my account if given the option, and haven’t looked at it since.
On August 30, 2004 I created my first Xanga under the name KimThaHobbit. This was my (as well as several others‘) first taste of social networking, and it worked like a charm. I followed my friends’ Xangas in an attempt to keep up with their lives, and wrote in mine as uninhibited as I did in the Diaryland blog. I came off as a huge bitch, which actually didn’t bother me; honesty was my policy. I wrote short stories, filled out surveys, talked about my high school band experiences, relationships, and friendships. It’s honestly very interesting to me to see how I handled things then (poorly) and how grown up I thought I was (I was not).
After blogging on that Xanga for a year I informed everyone that this particular blog was dead and created my Midgety_Hobbit one. I basically used this one from 2005 to 2008, and it, too, became my whiny blog. I actually just read some posts a few minutes ago, and my word… So much angst.
In 2005 I created my Myspace only because people were leaving Xanga and I didn’t want to lose touch. I had one friend for my first few weeks on there, and I didn’t even know her. Eventually I ended up with 100some-odd friends with whom to keep up with. I wrote in the blog on there as freely as I did in Xanga at first, but toned it down because I got into quite a bit of trouble over a few things I put in there. I actually deleted half of it, and I think I put it in my Diaryland blog.
In 2007 I “upgraded” to Facebook and learned the ropes after a few months. There wasn’t much of a difference between them but it still took me forever and a day to learn. Obviously, yes, I still use it. Entirely too much. I’m on it right now (as I type this, though it’s safe to assume that when I post this I’ll be on there again).
In late 2008 I discovered the vlogging community on Youtube, and joined in April of 2009. I put together terrible eight minute long videos about what I did during that day. They were lacking in jump cuts and good content, and I cringe every time I watch an older video. I honestly think I’m much better now at this whole “video” thing than I used to be, and am actually proud of a few that I’ve put out there recently (How to build a shelf, mixing it up, and Spartans vs. Orks to name a few).
Through Youtube I discovered the concept of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), went to their website, poked around, and decided to give it a shot. Last November, I worked feverishly in between work, school, and a social life to write over 1,000 words a day in order to complete the novel (or have 50,000 words by the end of November). I am proud to say that I FINISHED the novel with 50,300 some-odd words, which is awesome. Yes, the novel sucks, and yes, it does need major editing, but it's quite the accomplishment and I'm proud of it. Was it a challenge? YES! Was it worth it? HECK YES!! I got a free proof copy of it since I "won," and it currently resides in John's room. I should reclaim that soon.
During my so-far-year-long stint on Youtube, I heard people mentioning blogger a lot (mainly because of BEDA), and ended up accidentally stumbling upon mine that I created back in 2006. My profile had some rude message about how I didn’t plan on using it and didn’t want to meet people. There were no actual entries, and I’m pretty sure the name was kimthahobbit. I completely redid everything and started using it last summer. I am way more careful with what I say and put in here than I used to be (well, with a few exceptions); I make sure to say things that I can tollerate people bringing up in every day conversation. I also think about the consequences of things I say a lot more, so if I question my word useage or a certain topic even a little I don't use it.
In 2009 I discovered Twitter and barely touched it for awhile. Now I tweet entirely too much. There honestly isn't a lot to say about twitter; it's just like updating your Facebook/Myspace status in 140 characters or less. I don't know what the over all point is (except to "follow" random people?) but it doesn't mean that it hasn't sucked me in. I also discovered Dailybooth, which is a website that you snap or upload a picture every day. I don't necessarily follow that guideline (I haven't snapped a new picture in a week), but it's nice to go back and look at all of my dorky pictures every once in awhile.
There are also websites like Neopets, Runescape, livejournal, and Mugglespace (Myspace but Harry Potter based) that I gravitated toward and never really stuck with. Then there are all of my instant messenger accounts (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Skype, Digsby) that I used to use all of the time, but don’t as often anymore.
There you go. That’s where it all started, and here’s where I am now. I’m not sure when this obsession with social networking will stop, but honestly I hope it never does. I love having old blogs and videos to look back on and being able to say “Wow, that’s who I was then. Look at how far I’ve come.” I like being able to reflect on how I felt about past situations, like my grandpa dying or some boy breaking my heart or a carnival that I went to when I was seventeen, because over time I forget how I reacted to all of those things and how I actually handled them. Even when I see my past self at my worst while I’m presently feeling my worst I can say “Hey, you’re okay. That didn’t kill you, and the future won’t either.”