Monday, July 25, 2011

You've Got Mail!

At the start of this Week of Social Media I shall begin by going to the first recollection that I have of sending an electronic message. It all started when I threw that classic waste of a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan chick flick into my VCR on a weekend back in 1998.

Wait…let me back up a few years from that disgrace of a Friday night.

Before I delve in to the discussion of e-mail, I take you back to the fall of 1994, when I was a young lad sitting in the library of Municipal Elementary School in Roy, Utah. Keep in mind, this was in Roy, therefore the library was actually a rat-infested trailer, but that’s beside the point. That is just a description of what Roy really is.

That morning, my class was being given a subpar explanation of what would one day be called “The Internet”.

The Bavarian Librarian: “See kids, something brand new is available that will allow you to get on the computer and do more than just play Number Munchers. It’s almost like a…a…an electronic newspaper on your computer screen.”

Myself: “WTF?” (I do wish I would have had that acronym at my disposal back in the day.

The Bavarian Librarian: “Yes. You see, say that the Utah Jazz are playing a game of basketball, you could get on the computer the very next day and read about all what happened. All of the statistics, and numbers and stories you could think of would be on this computer, on what we think will be called, the Internet.”

Little did I know that this fantastic formation had been invented by Al Gore, and that it would one day become the mainstream source of pornography. But that’s beside the point as well.

Cut back to 1998 where I did receive some inspiration for the birth of my Internet identity by that cheesy Web stalker film as mentioned previously. Aside from having Dave Chapelle in the movie, the only other good thing that came from You’ve Got Mail was me getting the motivation to start e-mailing people. And from that point, the e-mail address of was born. And yes, I still have that.

If I remember, I think that the very first e-mail that I sent was to my Dad. Who at the time was upstairs in his bedroom. Almost like an Alexander Graham Bell pioneer phone call to his buddy across the hall. In hindsight, that message was a waste of time, but at that moment, it was ground-breaking in my life. A life that would one day be manipulated and catered to by electronic media.

The cartoon that I used for the post yesterday seems to be a better description of how e-mails are sent and received. Back in the day if one were to receive a single piece of e-mail, they were ecstatic. Elated by the concept that someone had taken a few minutes out of their day to say, “Hey, I thought I would take a break from my day, to turn on my Gateway 6000 computer, wait for Windows ’98 to load my desktop with the flying toaster screensaver, make my phone line go busy while my dial-up internet connection started to fire up, go to the website, log in with my personal name and password, and then send you this message.”

Granted one’s entire afternoon would be wasted with the time spent just to complete the whole process, but it was state-of-the-art back in 1998.

And then there was spam. And no I’m not talking about the most magnificent meat mixture that comes in little blue cans. I’m talking about spam e-mails. Yes, the dreaded false notifications that excited you for a microsecond when you thought you had just inherited a small fortune from your Uncle in Dubai, or were the 10,000th person to receive the rights to a Mazda Miata, or a very attractive, very scantily-clad female randomly thought that your e-mail address was the one that she had been looking for her entire life. All of that is still in full force these days as our world has monopolized the moronic tendencies of average Joe’s looking to win the digital lottery via spam mail.

And now, e-mail is becoming a thing of the past, a washed up old hag on the beaches of the film Inception. If you don’t have an e-mail address, or have never had one, how in the world are you reading this blog in the first place, let alone surviving in the world that we live in these days? You can’t. It’s just not possible.

50 years from now when I’m lying on my bed looking into the eyes of my posterity recounting the memoirs of my life, I will one day try and explain the concept of this communication device to them. The device that made it so that I could talk to someone in Africa in just a few seconds. The device that made me feel like someone cared about me even though “she” was just a feeble spam attempt at unlocking pornography. The device that was popularized and viralized by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Oh, and Al Gore. He did invent everything.

Location: On my leather couch

What do you think?


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