Monday, April 15, 2019

Old Internet Friends Day

Towards the tail end of the URI! Zone's first decade of existence, Rachel from Australia was a regular visitor, often arguing for hours in the Comments section with Beavis, Kelley, and Tree about societal problems without any sort of understanding of the problems' unique American causes. I met her playing Warcraft III and lost track of her somewhere around 2006 with only a few sporadic emails since then.

Last week was Rachel's 37th birthday, so I did my usual one-way shout into the void to wish her a Happy Birthday, only to find that her email had finally expired from inactivity. It's a peculiar feeling to completely lose a connection to someone from your past, especially in this era where everyone is on five different personal and professional social media networks and crosspost what they had for breakfast on Twitter and Instagram.

Treating this as a warning shot, I dug into my old mail and chat archives for other people that featured heavily in my ancient online life before they become unreachable forever. I kept up with tons of people during the simple days of the World Wide Web, back when "making online friends" was unheard of, safe, and wholly unique (the rose-coloured world that predates my current impression of the Internet).

I was actually successful in finding several old friends from aged, incomplete information, without even resorting to reinstalling ICQ or AIM. Some are in the same towns, some have kids a plenty, and everyone is pushing 40 alarmingly fast. I didn't want to restart friendships so much as I just wanted say hello and share a moment -- even if our lives don't intersect anymore, it's comforting to know that they're still out there living in parallel when I'm not thinking about them (we're all NPCs in someone else's game).

Any friends from your past you haven't thought about in a while? Reach out and say hello today while the opportunity is still there!

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