For what is blog part two: a life lived in phpbb

Part of a series: For what is blog

I started on the internet in my mid-to-late teens, when my parents got dial-up internet for the house. I have strong memories of that modem noise, tying up the phone line for a maximum of one hour every night (meticulously timed so I could get the maximum utility out of each evening), finding new webcomics to read and new websites to explore. I remember getting an account on every messaging service Trillian1 would support - on getting online and chatting with whoever else was online, of conversations dictated by who happened to be around.

Crucially, I remember being a relative social outcast in high school, finding solace in phpBB fan forums and various LiveJournal groups. I remember carefully counting out hours to work out whether my friends in other time zones would be awake. Picking a username because we all knew you didn’t use your real name online. Hanging out with folks who seemed much cooler than me, getting just the right avatar, crafting posts to seem as witty and smart as I could. Pouring out screeds of poorly-formatted and poorly-written naǐve teenage angst to a small set of similarly teenaged folks scattered across the globe who were similarly naïve, similarly angst-ridden.

(Of course the true blessing of this era is its right to be forgotten - either through the demise of sites and services, or the tendency of those websites in that pre-Facebook era to be inward- rather than outward-facing. No one needs their teenage selves thrown back in their faces once they pass their twenty-first birthday, I’d estimate.)

  1. I can’t believe this link still works - it’s amazing this company is still around.