Sometimes, it’s hard to remember a life before the Internet. But DAMNIT, I WAS 13-YEARS-OLD WHEN I FIRST USED THE WEB. That’s not young; I haven’t grown an inch since I was 13.
In my life, I had to use encyclopedias to complete school assignments. When I wanted to know something, I had to ask my dad for information. When he didn’t know the answer, that was it, there was no answer. When I wanted to get new books, I would go to the bookshop and randomly pick books based on the paragraph on their backflap or the recommendation of the nice Filipino man who worked at Jarir. I had to get my data fix from magazines, use the phone to get in touch with friends, and go to Music Box and buy a whole album because I liked a particular track.
It’s easy to forget. It’s hard to equate that life with our life today. BABE, THERE WERE TIMES WHEN YOU COULDN’T GOOGLE ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. There were times when we weren’t connected through our smartphones. I HAD TO WRITE MY OWN DAMN RESEARCH PAPERS IN HIGHSCHOOL.
Baby, I don’t know how old you are, but you could possibly be a part of the last pre-Internet generation with me. We, the ones who had a taste of life before the Web. Yes, granted, we were young before the web, and we are digital natives. It is our generation who built the Web, after all. It is our generation who emigrated from Usenets to IRC to Yahoo chatrooms to MSN Messenger to Skype to GTalk. We’re the first people to create pages on the World Wide Web, whether it was on Lycos, Geocities, or blogs much later on. We used the Web from way before there was Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. We had to suffer with Hotmail’s 2MB storage size, and we’re the ones who cried when Netscape died.
Baby, we grew up as the web grew up. It was small when we were small. It was buggy and stupid and ugly when we had braces, failed English lit, and giggled at the dumb jokes we used to make. We grew, and the Internet grew.
Today, the Internet is life, just like the sun is life and air is life. Did life exist before there was air? Before there was sun? Before there was the World Wide Web?
You and I know the answer to that. You and I, the blurry line between the great divide of digital natives and digital immigrants. We, the ones who love it.
For myself I can say this: the Web is my job. The Web is my freedom. The Web is my best friend. The Web is my joy. The Web is my teacher. The Web is my muse. The Web is my life.
I appreciate the Web, because I remember my life without the Web, and it was empty.
I, child of the Internet. Lover of the Internet. Mother of the Internet.
Internet, I love you.