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April 30, 2002

Fear of Virtual Space

Fear of Virtual Space

Virtual communities may not be real, but they certainly have all the same physiological and emotional properties of a real one. We're all familiar with this in terms of the here and now (and I believe there's good money to be made out of it :-) but what I certainly wasn't expecting was to feel it over a long period of time.

When I first joined the net revolution back in 1994, using a 14.4k modem and an MS-DOS-based set of packages, I subscribed to a whole bunch of newsgroups and mailing lists. Some fell by the wayside almost immediately, others burnt bright and then disappeared over the course of a year. And then there are the 'comfortable jacket' ones. Which you hang on to , stay subscribed to, and once a fortnight skim through as you delete them.

Which you can carry on doing for years, without ever wondering why you're still doing it.

But this community - about a band - has a reason to get together at last. There's finally going to be a tour after years and years. And no doubt lots of us will be meeting at the gig nearest me.

So I started to post an article asking who was going to be there...and I had to sit and consider whether I was going to press 'send' because it felt so odd.

The nearest equivalents I can think of are

There was a real feeling of participating in a space that only made sense with the old me. That there was a lot of baggage associated with it, and that I'd moved on so far since then. Would the locals assume I was still exactly the same - they don't seem to have changed in my years of lurking? Or does my speed-reading not really allow me to pick up on the nuances of how they've developed like me?

Eventually, I did press 'send'. It feels very odd. I'll post if anything interesting comes of it.

Posted by Tom Dolan at April 30, 2002 10:30 AM


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