I forget sometimes how I have watched the Internet grow up live, first hand. Right in front of me. Blogging since 2000 — well, my first dip in the blogging pool was actually after watching Faith and other designers create things similar to blogs in 1999, but I really got going with blogging in 2000 — means I have seen a lot. I forget that sometimes.
Then I’m at my friend Stephanie’s house and I pick up the First 20 Years issue of Wired Magazine.
Looking at the list of the influencers, the things, the events, the websites … I realize that there are people I’ve met among that list. People that if you asked me, I’d even dare to call friends.
It is strangely fascinating to me. There are people on the list that I wouldn’t have included. People that I feel have dramatically changed the way the world interacts with the internet (Matt of WordPress for example) that are not included on the list.
As I logged in to my blog to write this post, I saw that I had traffic today from this post that Matt wrote back in 2004. He came *to my house* to do my MovableType to WordPress migration, personally. I asked him a few years ago about why, and he said it was the largest blog to migrate that he was aware of at that point in time.
It is just fascinating to think of it all. Back in 1987 as I started college, my mom asked me why I didn’t consider majoring in Computer Science because I seemed to like it so much in high school. I laughed, and asked what I do with THAT???
I’d say the joke was on me, but in reality I still ended up where I belonged. Thanks to a law firm where I worked in IT needing to get online, I had early access to the internet. I hand-coded the HTML after teaching myself how and built my first GeoCities site. I was given stock in GeoCities, and later sold it to fund the down payment on a car. I eventually found the Digital Divas (I think that is what they were called?) and started to blog. I went to South by Southwest Interactive in 2002, back when it was so small that the whole thing maybe took up 10 rooms in the convention center, there were no big corporations at the trade show (Microsoft, etc), and the after-party was at Bruce Sterling’s house — and there I met some of the very people on this Wired Magazine cover.
I have always written from the heart. I have always been myself, vulnerably and authentic. I have always shared freely, both on my blogs and on forums in various places. It is incredible to look back at what that has brought me in return in my life. Not just the people on the magazine cover, but deep friendships that have been forged as well. Friends that it may have taken me years to meet up with in person (like Kristine, in the photograph above, who I was able to meet up with after 12 years in Portland this summer), but that changed my life none the less. My entire job focuses around the internet now, and while I never thought that would be a reality 15 years ago, now it feels perfectly natural to me.
I’m so grateful for all of the friends in my life that the internet has brought me. I’ve learned over the years that there are people behind the keyboards, and most of them are pretty accessible. We are all often linked together in some way. I’m lucky that I watched the internet grow up, because it has changed my life in so many ways.