As of today, my wife and I have been married for 18 years (!), but we’ve been together for 21. As parents of children who think nothing of conjuring any song ever made out of thin air, or casually downloading multi-GB game patches, I thought I’d walk down memory lane and share a few screenshots from some of the hottest tech properties of 1997 (you’ll find many of today’s favorites missing of course, as they didn’t yet exist).
If you need me, I’ll be slowly rocking back and forth in the fetal position and watching Murder, She Wrote.
Man, what a couple of years. Despite the fact that we’re living in a never-ending Black Mirror episode, one of the upsides of America now being fully great again is that the circumstances have caused me to take a much-overdue look at the role of social media in my life.
Some things I found troubling:
I’d see people post and share sketchy (and even dangerous) misinformation, stubbornly refusing to educate themselves on valid journalistic sources. Fun times!
In the case of Facebook specifically, I’d feel a general sense of dread before viewing my feed, then often feel worse having done so.
I’d find myself compulsively posting about my offline activities like a junkie, then I’d hop between various services only to find others doing the same thing. I sustained this behavior for a long time, but 2017 finally broke me.
As a result, I’ve made the following changes:
I’ve generally stopped using Facebook. My account is still open to let me peek in, remain contactable and view messages in private groups, but I’ve deleted the mobile app and stopped cross-posting content from other services. It’s been lovely. I’m still generally a fan of their Instagram product, and despite its many issues, I remain madly in love with Twitter.
I’ve stopped using Snapchat entirely. It’s goofy and fun generally, but seeing variations of the same stories over and over again became tiresome, and Instagram is picking their features apart pretty rapidly at this point. I’m also super old, so really I was generally just embarrassing myself.
I’ve stopped “checking in” to movies and TV shows I was watching, as this was absurd. For those that are interested (or looking for recommendations), I’ll be doing periodic digest posts here.
I’m done with pointless online arguments with unwavering Trump supporters, especially those that try to reconcile their position with Christianity. I try to be kind, open and willing to talk, but as Jesus said: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” The slow, multi-decade merger of right-wing media with evangelicalism has turned a large portion of Americans into frogs unaware (or unwilling to admit) that the pot they’ve jumped into has been slowly boiling them. I sincerely pray for God to soften their hearts and let them be open to productive (if uncomfortable) conversations.
Major thanks to my wife, who has had her own struggles with this stuff, and has been a much-needed sounding board/ray of light in this wild, MAGA-fied universe.
I’ve been posting stuff on the Internet for longer than I’d care to admit. Every few years I have a small breakdown and dramatically switch to another publishing tool or platform, often killing the past in true Kylo Ren fashion.
As of this writing, I’m pretty happy with my streamlined “only Twitter, Instagram and Medium” online presence [August 2020 Update: Now this site and a few other places], but for anyone interested in wandering down memory lane, I thought I’d point you in the right direction(s)…
Tumblr (2009–2017) [August 2020 Update: This has been cleaned up and reborn]
Blogger (2000–2009) [February 2021 Update: While I’ve permanently retired most of these posts, I’ve now republished a few highlights in the archives]
Screenshots From Prehistoric Times (‘90s-Early ’00s):