The Internet I Love

They say you find love when you least expect it.

The first time I met you was in 1998, when my mother brought a technician to our home and had him install a 56K modem to our then communal PC. I can vaguely remember the dirty white IBM machine I had, my pink Disney princess mousepad and how good I was at navigating through Windows ’97. I remember collecting diskettes, those multi-colored {I only bought pink ones, ever my signature color} 3.25 in. disks we save files into. I had about a hundred of them, all neatly stacked against my library.

I didn’t love the PC then. I saw it as a tool to play Jezzball, Pacman, and other old school games, and a machine to use for when I needed to write my book reports, my literary folio, my assignments.

You came then with a dial-up card. I remember having an address of I remember my first dialing experience, the one that is preceded by that annoying fax-like tone. I remember choosing over first a few internet service providers {ISP Bonanza, Philnet, the free email host Edsamail} all providing eight hours of pure internet awesomeness at the measly, but then-expensive price of Php 100. My mother, an advocate of all avenues of learning, eventually got another phone line dedicated to the internet because as you know, I fell in love with you.

 Oh hey, long time, no see!

I wistfully remember, whilst cringing, my very first email address. It was seventeen characters {oh the horror}, a muddled concoction of my nickname and some forgettable movie of Mariah Carey’s, so hideous it deserves a jejemon award. I remember old-school mIRC chatrooms with my main screen background set to a default of #FF0066 and a text color of white. I diligently spent school nights by the PC, transforming chat rooms into a new version of rowdy with my classmates, all of whom have discovered the joys of chatting, even if we just saw each other a few hours ago. I remember having unique desktop wallpapers because I stalked Deviantart like mad for the coolest graphic art. I remember having such easy access on online encyclopedias, matters encyclopedias don’t yet know and things, places I never would have imagined seeing. At the tender age of 15, I was a master of Google, I could out-search everyone {trust me, I still can to this day}. I was the only one who moved on to online journals {I kept mine then at this site called Diaryland} and the term ‘blog’ was unheard of. I relied on Kazaa for music I couldn’t catch on local radio stations and discovered a whole new world of music that’s never going to touch the mainstream.

Fast forward to ten years after, my heart still beats to the same rhythm and still as fast, every time I see my computer blink its blue icon, or when my phone shows that blue signal sign, alerting me of wifi connection in my midst. My pupils dilate at bits and pieces read from sites, even more when it’s from New York Times, Newsweek and blogs {God, I love blogs, can you tell?}. I go through a maelstrom of emotions when chancing upon unique videos on Youtube, scenes I never would have seen in this lifetime. My fingers tingle at being able to share, negate or agree with opinions from my friends at the other side of the world on Facebook, or Skype. Internet has paved the way to bring me and my mother closer, even if we live thousands of miles apart. My mind is transported to another place when I’m on Tumblr and I have learned to come up with witty one-liners because of this thing called Twitter. Let us not even get started with iPhone apps! But let us not forget all the functional things the Internet brings: online banking, shopping {I need not expound on this} and a host of truly useful purposes.

 Dear Youtube: I can spend my life with you forever.

Today, I earn my living by synthesizing my love and knowledge of the world, abyss we call the internet. I get to share my thoughts {wearing a corporate hat, as always} through the organization’s official fan page. I have been able to build friendships with Manila’s influential bloggers and fanning even more love for this emerging medium, and eventually gaining me friends I see or call in times of trouble {you know who you are}. My love for Google and testing, exhausting its limits or lack thereof has armed me with ammunition to make the websites I manage more and more hardworking. Soon enough, I had a sizeable number of bookmarks {Oh how I love you, Firefox Sync}, SEO, pageranks, analytics, URLs became my daily breakfast. While the Internet has fanned a huge bank of opportunities for me, I do not remain alone. The Internet has paved a way for homebodies to become a writer, a musician, a video star --- right at the comfort of their homes.

My personal Facebook page is an amalgam of my one-liner thoughts and brain vomit.

And this is for work purposes. How fun!

Yet I think the Internet can be evil and it can shed off so many precious, productive hours into futile wastage. I can spend my entire weekend online, and I know people who are productive on the net in so many ways {if you catch my drift}. But there is a wealth of information in there, some really life-altering ones ---- reason why my heart skips a beat every time we meet like I was back to 1998. And that is the reason why we exist --- we evangelize the good message and purpose that the Internet brings. The Internet may be touted as the root of all evil in many areas but it’s turning out to be a way of life, a way of living to some, including me.

So is love too strong a word for an intangible matter such as the Internet? I don’t think so. For as such in other instances of loving, you identify and see the flaws, yet you choose to commit to it, regulate your time with it, not abuse it and take care of it. Then it’s safe to say that I do love the Internet.

* I originally wrote this for work, under a column that promises not to write about work-related matters. But I felt like proposing undying love to my job, I would have given it a diamond ring if I had one :D