Saving Face(book).

I recently got on Facebook.

Yes, you heard me. Facebook. Now, I know most of you are going: “What?!! He JUST discovered it?!!” Well, yes, in that respect, I am lagging a bit (to throw a little Internet jargon around like I know something.)

Back in the day, I remember being one of the pioneers of the email address, my first one being (ya’ll ready for this?):

leslie@pacific.net.sg

Isn’t that cool? To live in a time and space where you can actually apply for an email address like that and not have it get thrown back to you with suggestions of “how about leslie_1263 instead?”

Anyway, I remember how it all started. I turned on the TV one night and I saw this ad for a then little-known (in Singapore anyway) company called AOL. In this ad was a slightly average-looking man who meets a slightly above-average looking woman at a party. At the end of the night, he asks to see her again and she slips him a card on which is written her email address, along with a sly smile.

I was sold.

I mean, how cool is that?!! Back then, to me, that was like the wave of the future. Forget about telephones, if you wanted to be somebody, you had to have an email address. And I wanted to be somebody.

And so, it was with that in mind that I dropped 50 of my hard-earned dollars on an account with Pacific Internet – in return, I got a white dial-up 28.8kbps fax modem, a cool-looking Pacific Internet CD-ROM Internet Starter Kit, and , of course, I got the bomb – leslie@pacific.net.sg

I had arrived.

Of course, in the months to follow, I realized that I never had women come up to me at parties and give me cards with nothing but their email addresses on them (at least not of the sort purported in the AOL ad). In advertising, they call that perception. Reality is often the opposite of perception and, more often than not, falls short by quite a bit.

So anyway, the years passed, Napster and ICQ came (and went) and the Internet sort of became a bore – until Friendster! To me, it was and still is the de facto social networking site, the grandaddy that started it all. I got into it, poring over who knew who, who gave me a cool testamonial and what not.

Of course, as with all good things, it came to an end. I can pinpoint it down to the moment when I tried to delete my Friendster account and it just wouldn’t let me – that was when I knew that I had no choice in the matter. Friendster was evil.

So it was with great trepidation that I abandoned my Friendster account – thus began the lull in my Internet lifeline.

To cut an already long story short, in the next few years, inspired by the YouTube revolution, I upgraded my IQ (Internet Quotient for all you noobs, haha) to broadband speed and found whole new ways to waste time on stuff like MySpace, MSN and WhoLivesNearYou.com.

And now, my latest virtual vice is Facebook.

Yes, I am on Facebook – poking, writing, biting, drinking and taking countless but ultimately useless compatibility tests (who cares what George Lucas and I have in common?)

But no matter how many Facebook friends I have, however long my MSN list is and Whoever Lives Near Me, I still tear my hair out when I think about this:

Why did I ever give up leslie@pacific.net.sg?

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