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When I was at secondary school the internet was just starting to make its mark, it hadn’t quite invaded our mobile phones yet but the connection at home was going strong. It is during this time that I made my biggest contribution to the development of international music anti-piracy laws through the copious use of Napster and Limewire. Also during this time the biggest form of communication was MSN Messenger, one of the first ‘live chat’ messengers.
I have great memories of MSN, I’d spend all day with my school mates and as soon as the bell went, I’d run home and log on to MSN to ask all my mates from school what they had been up to that day at school with me. All your friends seemed to have found the ‘Special Symbol’ button and proceeded to make their entire name out of them. Then there were the endless Minesweeper flag games, not to mention when you had to end deep and meaningful conversations with your 12-year-old friends because your mum wanted to call Aunt Barbara and you had to disconnect the whole internet for that to happen*.
The point is, I was in there. I was involved; connecting. It was the first internet social experience – for me at least. I was good at it as well, I sustained my friendships that way, that was until 2005 when Microsoft rebranded it, and so came its demise, along with many of my friendships.
I’m not great at keeping in contact with people, I suppose the depression plays its part. I often don’t feel up to it or it just requires more energy than I have available. When I am going through a good period, like now, I do try to re-engage; re-reconnect with the nearest and dearest though. For someone reason however, I have just been swamped with responsibilities and neglected this re-connection process. I realise calling talking to friends a process rather de-romanticises it a little, but I am an actual robot so it makes sense.
This was neither here nor there in Vienna today as I got on a tram in the city to see two friends, who were definitely part of the over subscribed ‘neglected group’. This is interesting for two reasons, firstly the timing; they had been on my mind for days. Secondly Vienna has a population heading towards 2,000,000, and they have endless tram lines, 5 metro lines, 90+ bus lines and humans still have the ability to walk, so it is rather a rare occasion to meet someone you know on the public transport network.
Meet them I did though and like an old dial-up connection I Pshhhkkkkkkrrrrkakingkakingkakingtshchchchchchchchcch*ding*ding*dinged* back into action. The social game returned and I already began arranging the next meet up. It is a liberating feeling to do something that has been hanging over you for a couple of weeks, lets just hope my mum doesn’t need to call my Aunt Barbara anytime soon.