My first mefi visit was sometime in or around 1999 shortly after Matt founded the site ... the cookie trail was something like this: read about Cameron Barrett getting sacked from his job because of his website, and started visiting there; also came upon Newsies on the Web, which led to Lileks & Romanesko; these led to Robot Wisdom, peterme, Whump/More Like This, BradLands, windowseat, flutterby, honeyguide, bud. People started calling these sites "weblogs" and then that morphed into "blogs." It was either on PeterMe or CamWorld that I first heard about Mefi when it was little more than a gleam in Matt's eye. Several of these bloggers mentioned were either joining or had linked to Mefi.
Despite knowing about the site, I was too shy to join. I had a free connection to AOL paid for by my job and I was aware of how ignominiously this would be regarded by techies. Plus, I didn't feel tech savvy or smart enough so I just lurked for a few years.
In the summer of 2001 I lost my job. I was carving out a decent freelance business but lost all my clients shortly after 9/11 in the ensuing poor business climate. I had unemployment and a small severance but in no time at all I was down to seeds & stems again. I couldn't afford anything beyond my web connection so I just stayed home a lot and surfed. That's when I chanced on and grew addicted to quonsar's zany blort blog. I sent him a few links & he was generous and kind enough to open his blog to me. We became chat buds, and q was always pointing out MetaTalk threads so I got more familiar with the personalities. I still found the whole place a little intimidating -- such excellent writers! -- but at the next open membership, I jumped in.
I had another year or two of poverty and depression before my business took root and I dug out of the poverty hole. During that time, Mefi and blort were the backbone of my social life. You've all made me laugh, cry, think, and gnash my teeth. My irl friends and family wondered why I wasted so much time online chatting and posting silly links. Wasted?! Ahem, it was hardly time wasted. Between the smart people here & quonsar (who has truly impressive mad tech skillz), I learned a lot. I learned enough that today, about 50-60% of my business is blog and web-related. Many thanks to all for being smart and savvy and helping with my education - you've certainly all helped me to grow, proving that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks.
Today, I don't have as much time to hang out here anymore and that's something that I often regret. Maybe it's just me, but with all the subsites, it seems harder to keep up AND make a gainful living. But Mefi, even if I don't have as much time, I just can't quit you. And I won't.
It's not one memory but a mosaic a little moments
How could I pick one fondest moment when there are thousands competing?
Was it the first few months of trading barbs or snarks with the likes of matteo, migs, starvos, crash davis, quonsar, dejah, lynsey, iconomy, coldchef, taz, homunculus, scody, plep, mr.balihai, hama7, t r a c y, chicobangs, jpoulos, jokeefe, rcade, amberglow, languagehat, some wacky eyeballkid guy who hates us all and so many, many more brilliant and devastatingly funny people?
Was it that little frisson I experienced when user number #1 and other mefi "celebrities" first commented in one of my threads? Or maybe the first time my name appeared in the lyrics of one of the celebrated cortex anthems?
Was it the time a lot of people joined hands with me on the night the Iraq war started?
Was it in the thread when planetkyoto offered to be my cabana boy?
Was it when a worried stavros tried to find out information about his friend on the night of Bali's explosion, with many of us desperate to have his worst fears proved wrong?
Was it as we all gathered to make sense of, share information about, or console each other in hurricanes, earthquakes, and politcal disasters?
Was it being schooled in the blues by y2karl or miko or flapjax?
Was it being exposed to HORSE COCK and anus or when an agitated ex-member threatened to cut off his hand?
Was it the many times when people were kind and sweet to me? Or rallied together to support others?
I could go on and on and on beyond these little vignettes and snapshots, really.
Instead I will just hug you all and offer a heartfelt thank you.