Friday, October 17, 2008

In this inaugural post, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on my return to life online. I'm not sure if it's due to the progression of my age or of internet trends (wouldn't it be cool if there was a correlation between the two), but it just seemed as though this was an appropriate time to return.

The internet went mainstream, for me, around 5 years ago, in 2003. Dial-up speeds began improving and broadband became more affordable. My friends and I, reliant on our parents' graces and income to indulge our online passions, started to embrace the latest 'craze' - blogging. It was considered a one-uppanA poster for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogyce to have knowledge of basic html, at a time when popular blogging platforms like diaryland did not (and still does not) offer wysiwyg editors and bolded, exotically-coloured or, even, scrolling text wishing friends happy birthday was a badge of blogging honour. Tightly clustered badges with small fonts proved that you were a member of a fanlisting, or a blog-ring.

The world of fanfiction took on a particular fascination for me, and I nearly made it halfway through two Lord of the Rings opuses of my own, buidling up suspense that I knew the revelations could never live up to. Of course, we were all devotees of the Draco Trilogy. An active member of a Fruits Basket (a Japanese manga/anime) community, I scrutinised every lPeach Girlast frame of the comic for clues as to the eventual fate of the protaganists and posted my (occasionally wild-eyed) speculations in the forums. I would stay up for nights on end reading the English translations of such deliciously (quite literally) titled mangas as 'Peach Girl' and 'Marmalade Boy', and of course, the classic 'Boys Over Flowers'.

As I transitioned to Junior College (Singapore's equivalent of high school), the pace of life picked up and, quite frankly, I was a bit burned out from my online engagement. The Fruits Basket series was rolling out at such a plodding pace that even I ran out of conspiracy theories, I had more or less shaken off my romantic-fantasy phase, and, darn it, I just never got around to learning how to make my diaryland entries scroll across the page!

On retrospect, this slight disenchantment was for the best, as a tumultous period lay ahead for the next wave of websites that courted my peers.

The second, present, phase of life online will take up the next blog post. In the meantime, what were the communities or sites that held your attention in the early days of your encounter with the web? Where were you when the web was just turning mainstream? Let me know in the comments!
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