Little bit of reminiscing here. If you know what I'm talking about, maybe you can join in the reminiscing.
I started using forums in pre-2k era Internet, when I was 13. Back then, everyone on every forum knew each other. It was an actual community, and it wasn't uncommon at all for people to meet up. Communities were close, and they stayed close. Even if you left a forum, people would wonder where you went, and they'd even mail you letters. I've still got letters from several people I keep in a safe place in case I forget that people are still nice sometimes, mostly from the girl I met then, and would eventually become very close to...when I was 17, four years later, and we decided to meet up for the fun of it. I'd never felt so close to someone at any point in my whole life. It was the happiest I'd ever been, and I felt privileged, like it was some sort of strange destined meeting. I talked to her less than a month ago, and I really do care deeply about her still, in a platonic way, if that sounds possible. She's the best friend I could ever have, and for it to last this long seems astonishing to me.
I still remember everyone from that forum, which was called The Aurorium. By the time I was three weeks in and active, I had made serious long-term friends.
One of my female friends at the time (we're both 13 years old, keep in mind, and we helped each other with homework a lot--legitimately, even, like we would help each other's academic difficulties.) was from my junior-high. We had a pretty major disagreement...in school, as far as 13-year-old disagreements go. But she was a mod on this forum and had actually invited me to join, but she could still ban me, and did. She un-banned me when we somehow became an unofficial couple in high school, but by then we all had Livejournals, anyway. By then, though, I had already made a few friends I'd keep until today. And I'm more than twice the age I was then.
Maybe this community was particularly close, I'm not sure. It was the only one in which everyone was just...really open and nice to everyone else. But quite a few people from that community are still a part of my life in a good way (like 14 freaking years later!), which is what I'm trying to illustrate.
Social media ruined everything, I think. The dynamics totally changed.
There were almost no forums like that anymore, nowhere to just meet up with like-minded people and chill, maybe make a few friends, keep in touch with a few, and form significant bonds with. That's undeniable, we sent letters to each other and everything. All the time! I mailed tons of birthday letters, and gifts, to a lot of people I met there! That was back when those sorts of forums were like after-school clubs. And my best friend happened to be 12 when I first talked to her at 13. She says she remembers when we first talked, and I admit to her that I don't. She says I complimented her avatar, and we went from there.
So I admit it, when I joined this forum in 2008 I just sort of missed that cordiality, how nice everyone was. Nothing like how people openly interact on the Internet today, for the most part. Everything turns into an argument, and almost no one gets along.
But it seems hard to find friendly forums anymore. There are just a lot of different places to get into arguments with people. I don't like that.
I'm not crazy, I realize I never had a presence on *this* forum. But it does make me reminisce. It's been around a long time, but there still are a few dedicated members, which I think says something for its own integrity. It's a classic-style place, and people genuinely seem to be having a good time with each other. For me, that's almost unheard-of. I'm just glad this place exists, honestly.
That's a lot of reminiscing, but wow, who knew there was anyone who actually got along with each other in a modern forum? Maybe I was just too distracted trying to fix myself up in social media, what with the selfies (see profile) and the like, but I really couldn't do it for the most part. I've got a few very close friends on Facebook, but that's it, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
If nothing else, thanks for throwing me back to the pre-2k Internet era, as well as my happiest years of school.