I will let the cat out of the bag… I am older than the internet. And to be honest, I was not one of the first to jump on the crazy train. Shocking, I know. I didn’t AIM or even AOL. I didn’t have a Myspace nor did I fear for my freedom because of Napster. Dial up drove my hyper, multi-tasking, self insane. The connection attempt, the wait and anticipation of connection, then yes maybe, maybe, maybe … nope try again and repeat the process. And let us not forget that noise, holy house cats, that noise (google dial up sound if you are not familiar and need an ear worm). Yeah, I was not an early supporter of the internet or even computers.
I took DOS in high school and spent three weeks coding how to make the computer draw a box. Why would anyone want to do that? In 5 seconds with paper and pencil, I can do that. I was sure that this computer thing as a phase like big hair and New Coke. It seems I was a tad off base on that. Maybe don’t ask me for this week’s lottery numbers.
In 1998, I lurked on a baby board that was based on my son’s due date. That is when I started having an ah hah moment about the internet. At the time I was living in a smaller sized town and was the first of my tribe to be pregnant. And while I read lots… there was a lot of knowledge to be gained in having someone in the same boat (even if that boat was parked 2,000 miles away) that knew how you felt. I joined a parenting board in 2006 for the same reason. My parenting style was a tad different among those physically close by and this helped calm my fears that I was not TOTALLY doing parenting wrong. When I miscarried my daughter, I lurked on a board for mothers going through the same thing. It was so helpful once again because I didn’t know anyone IRL who had or was going through that pain of loss that threatened to overwhelm me and I felt so much less alone.
That is what has helped so much with the boards I have joined or lurked or even the closed FB groups I have joined, that feeling of “oh so others feel this too, struggle with this, this makes them smile also” and I see that I am not alone in feeling that way. And yes, there are outliers that reflect the far ends of the spectrum, that relish in being the drama llamas, just like there are everywhere and in every situation. But I have also found like souls and great friends, who have become IRL friends, that if not for these boards, we would have never found each other.
I found myself struggling a bit at work lately. That perhaps I had rose colored glasses for this profession due to the length of time I wanted to do this. The other day I found two different groups; one for library programming and one for library memes. It has made a big difference to see others that have similar struggles and my same sense of humor about them. It is times like this I am glad I have the internet… and no longer suffer through dial up (she says while sitting in a restaurant typing and connected to the internet!)