Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Venus_Flytrap's Fantastic Survey of Life Online

1. in lieu of asking for standards of name, age, location etc. i'll just ask for ten things you want to say about you. name would be nice.
2. when did you get online? Early 1995 - second semester of college. I was using nothing but the Lynx browser at first and had no idea what I was missing out on.

3. when did you start getting involved with internet communities? Immediately. I was on the queer newsgroups and an on-campus queer mailing list.

4. how many different communities are you currently hanging out in? Just LiveJournal and my queerchoice mailing list.

5. how do you think a bulletin board format differs from a format like livejournal? how about live chat? are there other formats you like, dislike, or just know about? Live chat is not my favorite medium with most people. It tends too easily to take over all my free time and leave me nothing to show for it. I like any written format because it lets me go back later and see that I have something to show for the time I spent communicating.

6. why did you start chatting with people online? I started in March 1999, in the BowieNet chatroom, when I first moved out on my own. I figured since I was paying for BowieNet I ought to explore the place. Somebody there asked me my gender and I thought "Oh, I bet it would be fun to not answer this question" and after that it got interesting so I just stuck with it.

7. five things you love about the net.
(1) Anytime I want to, I can type some words and click my mouse and over a hundred people will read my words within days, and I don't even have to leave the warm cozy comfort of my own home.
(2) I can decide, "From now on I'm only going to hang out in communities where I'm the supreme dictator," and it's actually perfectly feasible and entirely convenient to do that.
(3) I can decide, "I don't feel like being gender-stereotyped" and decline to tell anyone my gender, and it's actually perfectly feasible to accomplish that too.
(4) I can decide, "From now on I'm going to spend all my time exclusively in the company of radical queer by choice pacifists who always agree with me about absolutely everything I consider to be really important" and that, although not 100% completely feasible, can still be accomplished to an amazing extent never dreamed of offline.
(5) Anytime I want any piece of information, I just type it into Google and more often than not, an answer springs instantly to my fingertips on command!

8. five things you don't.
(1) Spam.
(2) If I go on AIM hoping to find and talk to one particular person, I immediately get messaged by five others and it takes me ten minutes to politely extricate myself from all the dozens of conversations filling up my screen and manage to sign off without offending anyone.
(3) The hugs are a bit frustratingly limited sometimes.
(4) I can't think of anything else I don't like.
(5) See above.

9. were politics, identity or anything along those lines part of your reasons for getting involved? At first, I just wanted to communicate with my friends who'd moved across the country. I did soon discover political advantages too though.

10. if so, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with what you've found? Extremely satisfied. Delighted beyond anything words can ever express.

11. were you ever naive about life on the net? what have you learned? I posted some things online under my real name in the very early years, and just assumed, somehow, that anyone who didn't currently have internet access would never get it later either, or that if they did, my posts would be gone by then. Most of what I wrote actually is gone, but some things have a disturbing tendency to resurface. I'd thought it was safe, for example, to trust that anything posted in the newsgroups back in 1995 was gone forever; but then Google went and made all those ancient posts publicly available again, and I've occasionally been less than entirely happy about not having the option to go back and delete or edit them.

12. how is relating to people online different than offline? I get to be very much more selective about who I associate with when online. I spend most of my time hanging out only with people who worship me, and I just make occasional well-planned forays into the lands of the evil ones. Also, there isn't that whole fuss about "Where shall we go while spending time together? Shall we go buy something too eat? But where? Shall we go to the park? What shall we do together to pretend we're not actually just here to talk to each other and do nothing?" like there usually is when my offline friends come to visit.

13. how is it the same? When I'm with people I like, I am happy.

14. have you ever met someone offline that you had first met while online? how did it go? Never have.

15. have you ever had someone from offline become involved in the same online communities as you? how did it go? It's happened to some very small extent, but generally my offline friends are extremely internet-illiterate and really rather technophobic. Which is a shame, because if they'd get online more often I could hear from them a whole lot more.

16. what do offline people have to say about your status as net nerd? Nothing really. Just an occasional, "Oh, I couldn't do that. I'm much more of a face-to-face contact kind of a person."

17. is your online personality different than offline? how so? is it on purpose? My personality is different depending on whether others have power over me. If they do, I try to avoid doing anything that might bring their wrath crashing down upon me. If they don't, then I just invent myself in whatever manner I feel like. Typically, people who have power over me tend to be the ones who interact with me offline, because when online I don't have to hang around anywhere that I'm not the one in charge.

18. any regrets? None come to mind.

19. ever think of leaving? Leaving the internet? Are you crazy???? Nothing could ever drag me away from this paradise.

20. absolute favorite thing about being online. The queerchoice mailing list.
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