As an author, I need to have an online presense, especially since one of my books is only available online. As I go around the various sites, trying to figure out how to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Goodreads, and Pinterest, I'm reminded of my early days online and the changes the Internet has gone through since then.
1991 - My grandfather purchased monthly access to GEnie. This was a text-based service where you had to pay for every minute online trolling the message boards. I hung out in the movies, TV, and books forums. This was before we all got AOL CDs in the mail on a weekly basis. Heck, this was before everyone and their mother had Internet. The Internet wasn't even a thing people talked about. On GEnie, you had to pay for chat and to download pictures. Of course, who wanted to download pictures when you were connected with a 28.8 modem? Seriously, one picture took forever.
1995 - I got my first Internet access through a local college. It was still text-based, although browsers were starting to pop up, so a few sites had pictures. Whenever I ran into a site like that, my computer simply said [image]. But I could chat! I made several online friends, including a friend with whom I began my first fantasy novel. I lost touch with her, but I still have our novel somewhere. Maybe I'll post a section from it one day. I also got my first webpage at that time. Someone else designed it for me.
1997 - I purchased my first computer! I bought local Internet access. I taught myself HTML and for the first time, created a webpage. It was full of all sorts of rainbow bars and smily face GIFs. It was my own, and I did it myself. I wish I had a cached pic of the home page. I also created a theatre page on Geocities. Remember that? It was a free site that hosted web pages. You "moved" into a neighborhood that fit your theme and built your site. I had a scanner. I could scan pictures and upload them via FTP. It still took forever though, because the world was still using dial up Internet. I think I had upgraded to 56.6.
After that, the Internet spread like wildfire. I forgot most of my HTML because you no longer needed it to create a web page. With text based programs, it's all so easy, but I still remember that first page I created. And I still remember those early days and how the world opened up when I first connected.
When did your online experience first begin?