Living life online, I remember not so long ago when spending too much time online would lead to funny looks and you being abused or derided for not being very social. Well although there is still an element of that around, as time moves forward more and more people spend more time online and it’s become so much more acceptable. And to be completely honest, I am one of those people spending more time in an online world.
Gradually as I’ve got older I have spent an increasing amount of my time online, even more so over the past year or so with twitter being the main forum for it so to speak. But it didn’t start that way, through school the extent of my net use was a hotmail email account, sending crap to my mates and vice versa! Towards the end of school and as I increased my net usage, I signed up to a forum which focused on wrestling. Now at the time I was a big grap fan, and this allowed me to meet or at least just converse with other like-minded individuals. Through that forum I met a lot of people both good and bad, a few of the good ones i still talk to a fair bit, including one of my best friends (although there have been more than a few ups and downs in that friendship over the years).
Posting on forums became a regular thing, then after some suggestions from a fellow forum member, I moved on to the next level of social networking (at the time), Myspace! That was an interesting experience, allowing for some customisation and individualism with the profile set-ups, and very early on my profile was one of the “featured” ones so my face kept popping up on the homepage prompting plenty of “adds” from both normal people and nutters! It was a similar story to the forums in that I met some great people who have remained good friends long after the Myspace page was deleted. My ex-girlfriend was met through the site (and we remain evry good friends to this day), along with the less successful ex before her, and a few other long lasting friends were also introduced there thanks to my quite open love of West Ham! Facebook though, that’s been different. Generally the people I have on Facebook are people I’ve met elsewhere in “real life” as such!
Twitter, well that has just sent things into overdrive. Thanks to the time I spend on twitter conversing with people, a lot of aspects of my life improved! Starting with my non-league football involvement, speaking with a friend on twitter got me down to Concord Rangers and watching non-league again, writing an online blog got the attention of the club chairman and the committee, allowing me to become a part of the club to a level that I could never have expected, and talking to the players online has allowed me to become mates with some of these guys. Sticking with football, previously I would go to see West Ham and just head straight to the stadium, but thanks to conversing with fellow fans on twitter, I now go early to catch up with the guys, have a few drinks beforehand and actually meet even more Hammers in the flesh. The social network has also allowed me to bridge the Atlantic and converse with Jets fans a lot more, including guys that have their own radio shows out there in the US.
Being online has also helped with my love of whisky, getting involved on the whisky social network Connosr opened up doors which as a whisky lover I could have only dreamed of. For example I was part of a tasting for an online magazine run by the guys at Connosr, I (along with the ex) was part of a group of members lucky enough to have a special tour of a distillery and taste their entire range (including a £3000 bottle), and I’ve met some hugely informed whisky writers and aficionados who I can class as friends now.
For me, living a lot of my life online has actually helped my life offline as I’ve mentioned above. It works for me, meeting people who I would never normally have bumped into, opening doors to opportunities I would never have thought of having, and just getting involved in things I would not necessarily have been able to otherwise. It also allows me to keep in contact with friends who may not be so close any more. Some people take the online life too far, but I think its pretty spot on for me given how things are. Living online isn’t a bad thing at all!