Tag Archives: IRC

Twitters is the new IRC

Back when I was young and the Internet was shiny to me I spent a lot of time on IRC chatrooms.

IRC is short for Internet Chat Relay. You connected to a network or “Net” via a client (program) and chatted in real-time and then you would join a channel (chatroom). It gets complicated from here with channel creators being operatives and having special powers and creating bots so no one could steal your channel away and all manner of crazy that would take me a whole post to explain.

I logged into Twitter this morning musing about hashtags and using Twitter to socialize and I realized Twitter is similar to IRC in some ways, it is the new IRC.

Ways Twitter is the same as IRC

1) People are using it for real time chat to connect with like minded people interested in the same thing.

There were chatrooms on IRC dedicated to any topic and if you couldn’t find a topic you connected with you could start your own. Friends of mine (from Sweden) started a pagan chatroom after discovering several of us were pagan from another channel and it brought others in and we expanded.

2) hashtags

When you joined a channel you used #pagan or #vampire.

On Twitter you label your posts with #amwriting or #mywana and you set up feeds to search for those hashtags. Fairly similar.

3) Clients

You can connect to Twitter on the website, but you don’t gain a lot of functionality. To really use Twitter, you need a client like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

4) World-wide connection

With Twitter you can find someone on the other side of the world who believes the same things you do.

I grew up in a town of 400 people. There were 16 graduates in my high school class. My parents were the first in town to get divorced in the history of the town. Really. I had to connect with people outside my town. I was at that time a pagan, I wanted to write, I wanted to connect with people who had BIG IDEAS. IRC and the internet were my dream come true.

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In Defense of Internet Friends

I was reading this article on April Reign a great Canadian political commentary blog. I left a long comment, but I realize the arguments against “VIOLENT GAMES” and against pornography are the same. THE FUCKING SAME. In the same way people who like to game and spend time online are made to feel guilty, similar to people who have sexual kinks. Perhaps addiction is only a problem when the people around you feel like it’s interfering with THEM. (In this way I have to redefine my partner’s addiction, which I’ve written about previously, as his drug use doesn’t bother him in the least).

Many people call Facebook, Crackbook or similar things, because when you first join IT IS THE AWESOMEST thing ever and you have found all these friends that you went to school with and lost touch with. And there are all these applications with fun games to play. And then a year passes, and you find yourself checking it out less and less, and you have so many friends sending you crappy app requests that you find yourself annoyed. It seems that because “EVERYONE” is using Facebook now it’s okay.

Go 10 years back and I was IRC a lot, everyday, several hours a day.  I was a teenager, I had made lots of friends via the Internet and they hung out on IRC and it was fun to chat with them.

Not much different from teens hanging out at the mall after school. I grew up in a small town. None of my friends lived in town for most of my life, unlike me. And the one who did move to town wasn’t allowed to be out after dark, even at my house. (seriously, we were in grade 12). It was no different than me writing letters to pen pals in various parts of the world, it was just in more real time. I’m sure when I was 12 I spent hours writing letters. Prior to IRC and the internet, I spent 3 hours a night on the phone with one of my several best friends.

My parents were probably concerned because of all the bad press the Internets were getting on Addiction.  Really, I was likely better off than some of my counterparts (including my brother) who were at house parties getting DRUNK off their asses or driving around the back roads drinking beer. Which I only did once, and didn’t get at all.

My relationships on line were not much different than the one a friend had with a boy she met at camp. Sure she did meet him face to face before they started “dating”. But, in a one week camp she didn’t get to know him all that well and whatever information she had on him she got from letters etc. She was allowed to go his house to visit once. Of course, it was only a few hour drive not a few hour flight. Still, out of your parents house is out of your parents house.

I was more abused in my off line, so called, REAL Life relationships than anyone I had online. I recognized when things were going too fast online and it was easier to call a halt to it. It’s hard to push an ignore button on someone who lives in the same dorm as you, which was a key to why I dropped out of university. I’ve never told anyone, I don’t think I’ve ever really blogged about the one boy I dated in university.

When I was dragged away on family vacations I was upset that I had to leave my computer. But no more so than any other teenager I know who isn’t going to be able to spend her ENTIRE summer vacation Hanging out with her friends.

My “Internet” friends were more real to me than the fake people I knew in college, or high school. They may well have saved my life. While I never got to meet most of them, they were an important part of my life for a long time. And some of them continue to be.

I went into a rant about gamers and how violent games are the cause of all our Woes. But, upon reread I’m finding that these two ideas don’t necessarily need to be together. So maybe I’ll rant about anti-gamers another day.

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