How It All Began


I will never forget the first time I saw the Internet. I was in 5th grade at my friend Stephanie’s house. After class, we would play games until my mom came to pick me up. One day, she had gotten a new family computer equipped with AOL 2.0. I had heard of this phenomenon before but had never come face-to-face with the online world. It was green and grey, with fuzzy icons and a column listing people she could interact with. It was so cool that she could talk to people through her computer and could use it to do schoolwork and find out information. She was surprised that I didn’t have it yet, and I tried to act cool about how we just hadn’t installed it, but were planning on it, very soon. Embarrassed, I knew I NEEDED to have AOL too.

I ran home and begged my parents to get AOL. My mom had a computer in her office with Microsoft Word and Excel, but no Internet. I rarely used the computer except to type projects and play games. I received most of my information from books and encyclopedias. Finally, my dad gave in when I came in contact with a “free trial” version of AOL 3.0. He subscribed, and AOL became our home Internet service provider for years and years to come. I actually think we subscribed to AOL until it changed formats and became free.

There are few fond memories that can compare with the success I would feel when the “running man” would finally making it across the three panels to the globe. Finally, connected! For a while, I could only get on late at night or early in the morning. I remember actually falling asleep by the computer just waiting to sign on. Nevertheless, AOL played a huge part in my life from talking to friends, arguing with friends, breaking up, making up, creating member profiles, doing homework, and staying in touch. To my generation, AOL was at times your best friend, and at other times your worst enemy.

-Sarah Hutton


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