I was recently invited to a group on facebook for writers of the old e/n scene and cam girls. It’s sort of an ad hoc ten year reunion. A lot of the time, those two things were interchangeable. For those not cruising the underbelly of the internet in the late 90s/early 00s, e/n was basically blogging before there were blogs.
Everything/nothing it was called because it was literally people cataloging thoughts, sharing links, and keeping track of their lives online. Now people have various social media services for this sort of thing, and each type has its own niche service. Back then, you ran a domain and just let your brain vomit out what it would.
This was when there was still some degree of anonymity on the internet. You posted things in a safe place where you knew your family wouldn’t know you were complaining about them. Partially because, odds were that your family wasn’t online, or if they were, they were cruising AOL. Mostly because no one knew who you were outside of your a/s/l and username.
There was no google serving you ads based on your browsing history. There was no facebook for real life acquaintances to hunt you down, or for your boss to find embarrassing pictures of you on. There was no linkedin for professional networking, and hell, we weren’t at any stage in our lives to be networking anyway. Your online life could be completely separate from your real life, and it generally was, with people conjuring up crazy personas that had little basis in reality.
I miss those wild west days full of the blind optimism of what the web could be, when I felt like it was full of “my people”. Although I was never at the forefront of any scene, there was a common thread that brought all of us onto the internet doing the same sorts of things. A sense of camaraderie and common purpose that created strong bonds and a real community.
Livejournal was the beginning of the death of e/n. People no longer had to know how to code a website to be able to share their thoughts. The pool of people producing material became much larger and more diverse, and it was no longer just a group of random tech nerds goofing off.
The logical conclusion to all this is definitely facebook, which killed blogging. The internet has pretty much been made accessible and non-threatening to everyone now, and in that has made it a lot less fun.
I’m wistful for those days, obviously, and it’s been so great to see everyone together again. From all of the catchup posts, everyone has seemed to make something of themselves whether it was directly related to technology or not. I can’t say I’m really surprised, but it’s heartening to have what was once a little group of geeks playing on the internet blossom into a group of people who are running shit and doing real things.
Not to say that the facebook group isn’t mostly talking shit about the old days and numerous calls for tits to be shown. Some things will never change..