What's Your First Memory Of Using the Internet?
I was just thinking about the first time I became aware of the internet, and the first time I actually used it.
It was in 1984. I was in a Computer Studies O Level class. The teacher (whose name I annoyingly can’t remember. He had a beard and was very nice) had just spent an hour telling us that in the “footoor” we would no longer be sending letters to communicate. We would be sending “electronic mail”, or E-mail.
I was very interested in this. Not least because my mother was the village postwoman, and I feared for her job.
I asked many questions about what this E-Mail would do to the economy. What were the implications?
My teacher didn’t have all the answers, just a firm knowledge that this thing was coming. I didn’t have the depth of intelligence as a 15 year old, or was not at the right point in my life (if you’ve read Outliers you’ll know what I mean), to invent Hotmail right there and then. Otherwise I’d be on a Caribbean island with a framed, signed, picture of that teacher sitting on top of my Steinback next to the Aston Martian having Earl Grim Tea with Gilliam Wates discussing how we were going to save MS Africa (TM).
The teacher, I remember, was taken with my curiosity and invited me into the school Tech Room.
In that tiny room, stacked with beige BBC Micros and red and black wires flagellating cathode ray monitors all around, I sent my first email.
It was via bakelite red phone connected with what I seem to remember (unless my memory is cheating) a black bakelite modem.
There was a lot of whirring and beeping, and I’ll never forget the exhilaration of seeing that dark green pixelated screen displaying that tiny flashing cursor in the top left corner before letters started appearing on the screen with a message from someone in a University that my teacher knew in America.
I wish I could remember what that email said. I imagine I probably said something psuedo-intellectual like “Have you read Cosmos by Carl Sagan. It’s brilliant isn’t it?”
Or maybe I just said “Hello”
If that teacher of mine ever comes across this blog, I’d just like to say two things:
1. I’m really sorry I forgot your name. Sometimes I blog on a whim and the idea of trawling through the garage for 25 year old school reports at eleven at night before putting fingers to keyboard just put me off, okay?
2. Thank you.
What was your first memory of the internet? I’d be fascinated to know. Leave a comment.