First Impressions


I can remember the first time I heard the word “Internet.” It was on the playground at recess in fourth grade, from a boy named Paul, who I later had crush on in middle school. I remember him saying this thing, the Internet, whatever that was, was going to be huge. I remember going home & asking my dad what it was & getting a long, complicated explanation, involving “data packets” & “fiber optics,” that I didn’t understand.

In middle school, we got AOL from one of those CDs that people now use as coasters & dorm room decorations. It would take 30 minutes to get online; unfortunately, unlike Domino’s, if it took longer than that, it wasn’t free.

In high school, everyone I knew had a Xanga or a LiveJournal. This was back before LiveJournal was bought by SixApart, back when it was invitation-only. You only got one invitation to give out & it was a BIG DEAL that you used it wisely. People got really angry if you wasted it on someone who wasn’t even going to update. I know. The person I gave mine to only updated once. It took a loooong time to live that one down.

In college, a friend of mine who went to a different school sent me an invite to something called Facebook. She’s a good friend, so I set up a profile. Now what? So…the profile just sits there? What’s the point of that? It wasn’t until six months later, when people at my school finally started joining, that I really understood what the big deal was.

I am very lucky that going on Facebook & Twitter is part of my job, but really, I’d be on them anyway because that’s the world I grew up in. I hope that I’m able to share a different point of view about what it was like to grow up in that world & to be working & learning in an industry still transitioning to that reality.

PS: Shout-out to Paul. He was ahead of his time.

-Amy Yen


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