Social Media and Being The Oldest of Nine Children

Unfortunately, to be the oldest of nine children means that you’re more likely to have restrictions on everything you do.  Things as vast and different as snowboarding, or breathing.  That being said, my social media history was a battle with both my lack of resources and my parents.

I was granted permission to have my own e-mail address when I was twelve-years-old, in 2001.  I don’t remember exactly what my address was, but I’m sure it was something along the lines of or  I mostly e-mailed family members, a few friends, and then a couple years later I e-mailed back and forth with a boy who was my best friend’s brother, and in college (WHOA).  My mother also set me up with a pen pal- Kelsey, the daughter of one of my mother’s very good friends who she met through common interests on the internet, but lived in another state.  Kelsey and I e-mailed a bit back and forth as well, but it’s hard to forge a relationship when that’s exactly what you are doing- forging it.

Then the coolest thing happened- AIM arrived.  It hit my jr. high school like a tropical storm.  Before you knew it, everyone had AIM, and if you ever wanted to get that slow dance with Danny at the bi-annual school dances you had better get yourself a crafty avatar, a cute screen name, and get to typing.

Naturally, there were many limits in my house with the use of AIM.  In fact, it was deleted from the computer, unbeknownst to me, on several occasions.  I believe at the time, our family computer (the ONLY one in the house) was prone to viruses, which according to my father, were coming from the AOL Instant Messenger.  Luckily, AIM set up an AIM Express on their website that allowed for people to use it without downloading.  As long as I cleared the history and told my dad I was “doing homework”, I was usually good to go.  I did a lot of homework those days.

At some point in high school, the most amazing incredible social media site (I believe) to date was created- Myspace.  Magical.  EVERYONE had a Myspace.  I loved it because you could make it so personal.  You could pick your own theme, put in sparkly bubble letters spelling your name, stalk pictures of your crush at the all boys school (yes, I went to a private girls high school…), and post ‘bulletins’!  Bulletins were the best.  I’d spend 2 hours on a 500 question survey that asked questions like: ‘have you ever gone skinny dipping?’ ‘Pepsi or Coke?’ ‘What’s your best friend’s mother’s aunts name?’ Actually, looking back at that now, maybe it was like practice for all the security questions I’d have to answer for future social media and credit card sites.  Either way, I’d answer every damn question and I can tell you for certain that literally NO ONE read them.

Mom and dad hated Myspace too.  They were certain some pervert would work his way through my privacy settings, find my location, convince me to meet him at the mall for milkshakes and that would be the end of me.  I was NEVER allowed to have a Myspace, which made it that much more thrilling.  Many tears were shed over this fabulous website.

My senior year of high school was when Facebook took off.  I was skeptical at first because it wasn’t as pretty as Myspace, but eventually I let down my walls and fell in love again.  Now I am signed up for approximately 15 different social media sites, and I have been adding to list steadily since the start of this semester.  And since I’m living on my own now, the opportunities are truly endless!

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