Once Upon an AOL
“You’ve got mail!”. The instant greeting to overeager social computer butterflies the world over made famous through a sweet romantic comedy titled so originally “You’ve Got Mail.” Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan had the inside scoop on using the internet to find love. Some people found new hobbies through the once bigger than Facebook online service called America’s Online.
There were groups to be found for everything you liked, from hooking up with the local yokels, to learning the ins and outs of Paintshop Pro. You could plan your wedding on such sites as The Knot while designing your own tags with a group like PSP Friends to guide you. PSP Friends…if only I knew then how much more than just paintshop tips I received. It paved the way for building and maintaining online friendships before forums became popular.
Her name was Shadowy Wolf Eyes, also known in the real world as Anna. She took me in under her wing, teaching me all the tips and tricks that would help me do the designs I do today, hour after endless hour in chat. We would talk about my daughter, her illness, her parents, my family. We would discuss ideas and new ventures much like my online best friends and I do now. We would eventually begin our own online PSP group together called Shadows of Heaven. We made plans to do business together as our knowledge expanded and my experience grew. She led me to poetry sites, boosting my self-esteem, particularly in regards to writing, as needed. Ours was a true and happy friendship, though we had never met face to face.
All our plans died one day when my computer failed. Not in a position to afford a new one, and a lack of transportation to get to places where I could pop online long enough to retrieve the information I needed to keep up with her outside of the internet, we lost touch.
Today, I have tons of people I refer to as friends, and most of them I have never met face to face. This is something that began in boredom many years ago, I went several years missing, and now I simply could not live without.
Concrit is always welcome. Thanks for reading.