Prompted by a top-page post on reddit, which asked what people missed from the older days of the internet (paraphrased), I've thought a bit about how my use of forums have changed concurrently with how I approach the internet in general.

When I first joined Animeb, the forum where I've been the most active... well it's still the forum where I'm the most active haha I remember thinking of the internet as this arena where I could create a persona and meet with the other "few" who were out there venturing through this new land. Meeting other people online was part of the adventure of exploring the internet in general.

Today, the internet has become omnipresent and heavily monetized. It seems to me that the question we were all trying to find an answer to: "What will the internet become?", has been answered. Social media, online shopping, computer games, cloud computing (and probably other things I'm forgetting), dominate the internet today, and has brought about many great changes. However, it has also fundamentally changed how we use the internet, and as it always is with progress, it has moved the internet away from the early era. And with that, we have been robbed the feeling of pioneers, adventurers, and today, us being active online socially, just makes us like absolutely everyone else. If not, just plain ordinary, no longer part of the cutting edge. The new cool, as I see it, is taking a step back from social media. Something I'm keen on.

Also being anonymous, or at least purposefully vague, online, used to be the norm. Today, it mostly seen as weird and enigmatic, and since we're no longer our personas online, our someone-else, but ourselves, it has just changed how we think of the internet completely. I loved making signatures, profile pictures, posts, forum games etc., in part because it was a side of me that was hidden from people who knew me IRL. Today, I just don't feel like I be that anymore online. It's not that I think people who know me IRL will suddenly find Animeb, or that I will care if they do. It's how I engage with the internet in general, how I see myself online. And with that, everything has just changed.

I'm still gonna be present online, and enjoy it for what it is now, but I don't think the old days will ever return, because they were enabled by factors that are no longer in play. And for better or worse, that's just simply how it is.