I realised earlier that I’ve just had an anniversary. It was May 1998 that I came online for the first time! Yeah, I know, most people have been online a lot longer than 10 years but it was a big deal to me. My friends were online and I’d used it a bit at school but it was the first time I’d experienced the net properly; it was a whole new world. I remember we used to buy these $30 prepaid cards that lasted for 25 hours; I used to write down exactly how long I’d been online so I wouldn’t go over the limit. These days I’m on that long in a week!
One thing I still remember is my first email address, even though it’s now long defunct: firstname.lastname@example.org. Awful, isn’t it? I wasn’t ready when we were setting up the account, so I just said the first thing that popped into my head and that was masta1. I cringe whenever I think about it now. I had that address for three years and my first stories were published with it… it’s not exactly the address you’d associate with a writer, is it?
It’s funny seeing how far I’ve come since then. I’ve been through another eight addresses, started five websites, several blogs… I’ve even helped friends set up sites and I’ve enjoyed helping people in the WP forums. Not bad seeing I had no idea what I was doing when I first came online! 🙂 More importantly I’ve felt like I’ve become part of a larger community and that’s something I hadn’t felt before… the world really is much smaller now.
And yet, somehow, after all these years, that damn address still says more about me than anything else! No matter how many posts I write, how many photos I put up or profiles I fill out, nothing tells you more about me than masta1. At the least it says I’m a bit of a geek; at the most that I take myself too seriously. I really wish I’d chosen something different now. Email addresses are so important, particularly for first impressions; somehow I doubt masta1 gave people the right idea! 😉
I know I’m being silly but there is something to it. Have you ever stopped to think about what your email says about you? Obviously our writing style says a lot but even our addresses can reveal more than we thought. Researchers in Germany recently found that the email addresses we choose often reveal traits like openness, conscientiousness and narcissism without our even realising it. Addresses using punctuation, numbers and fake names proved much more revealing than others, which makes sense. You’re not going to see many adults using email@example.com, are you?
I found it interesting as I’ve always thought that email says a lot about us. Every way we communicate reveals something about our personality and writing is particularly revealing. A lot of people see email (and comments and forums) as a form of communication that allows them to say things they wouldn’t normally say; they’re much harsher and I’ve always thought that reveals more about the real “them” than they’d ever let us see. The style we use in an email says a lot about us too. Not just the length but whether we write with warmth or intellect, what feeling we convey in the email; that reflects our personality just as much as the words themselves.
I’m not sure if it’s the same for you but I’ve always felt like my online personality is quite like how I am in person; I have a sense of humour but I’m thoughtful and careful with what I say. I’m never happy unless I get the tone of what I’m writing just right because I usually have a lot to say! I came across this quiz earlier and it seems to agree with me. The questions were fun and it’s quite accurate for a simple quiz. I wonder what your email says about you? Do you think you represent yourself online the same way you do off?
Anyway, I’ve just been thinking about this lately. The time’s gone so quickly and it’s funny looking back, seeing how much has changed. I can’t imagine life without the Internet now; it’s helped my writing enormously and I’ve made so many friends. I think I was lucky that I didn’t get online earlier; I can still remember how much I loved experiencing it all for the first time and if I’d grown up with the net then it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as special. I might have taken it for granted and I’d have missed out on so much.
Now all I’m missing out on is sleep! Oh well, guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead. 😉
Edit: Now I know I definitely need to sleep! Sulz just reminded me that you need to sign in to Tickle before you can see your results. D’oh! I completely forgot; I meant to post the link to another quiz too, in case you don’t have an account. You can find that one here. I’m going to get some shuteye now. 🙂