I’ve just realised it’s now two decades since I first got online and sent an email. I believe it was May 1995.
I’d just excitedly returned from a remarkable experience at the United Nations Youth Conference in Seoul, where I’d been as the President of the LSE Students’ Union.
Out there I met the president of the MIT Students’ Union, and she gave me and others a card with an ’email address’ on it. I pretended to have a clue about it, and said I’d email her to network – though from memory, I think my real interest was a little more base.
Once home, I went to the LSE computer room, logged onto a DOS machine, and someone showed me how to email, so I sent her a brief note. Our email communication didn’t last too long. While in the room, I discovered my fellow LSE SU sabbatical officer and now stand-up comic, Gary Delaney, online. He’d just discovered an early version of a web forum, so I joined him.
There were discussion topics, and you’d enter a line that was meant to be funny and people would vote it up or down. We wasted an hour or so sitting next to each other, on separate terminals, competing on who was getting the highest vote. I’m pretty sure Gary won.
At the time it all felt like a bit of fun. I had no idea the huge part it would play in my life – it was, after all, only eight years later that I set up MSE. I remember as a teen I wanted to get a Prestel modem, more out of intrigue than anything else, but that idea was never indulged.
So that was when I lost my web cherry. I’m not sure how much of an early adopter I was, but I suspect on the early-ish side. When did you first get online – and why? Do let me know below.