From what I can remember, I was first introduced to the internet/used a computer through my grade school computer class. This was not the first time that I had ever heard about the internet… I knew it existed, but I had never really been interested in it. It never occurred to me that the internet was something that would someday play such a big role in not just my life but everyone’s.
I remember being frustrated with the system at first. It seemed complicated to me. My school would have us sign on to an online program to play learning games for math and english. It was a little annoying to me to have to remember a username and password. Another thing that I remember is that every other class would be interrupted with some sort of technical difficulty. The problem that I would encounter most was my screen freezing. I remember one game in particular. I think the name might have been Reader Rabbit. I would become so frustrated with it because it would freeze in the middle of a lesson, and I wouldn’t be able to click on anything. As a child who was just trying to get the lesson done, I would find myself thinking that I never wanted to do this again…. But look at me now. I find myself with a program that has frozen, for example Microsoft Word, and thinking something a little different. Today I tend to think to myself: ‘Maybe I shouldn’t leave 25 Word pages up and expect it to continue to run smoothly… I won’t do this again.” I still do it. These days I tend to blame a lot of the glitches on myself. When things go wrong, unlike when I was a child, I know that I can’t just give up the program forever (ex: Word). It will probably be a regular part of my life for the rest of my days.
One characteristic of new media that van Dijk and our class discussed was “storage potential.” I remember putting the disk in and being pretty amazed at the experience that was put onto that little thing. I also remember thinking this every single time I played the game “Bugdom” on my sister’s new computer.
As a child, I was so amazed at the huge world of “Bugdom.” It seemed like it would never end. All the characters, scores, textures, color, movement… it was all stored on this little device. This was probably my biggest realization when it comes to my first experiences with the internet. I found out that you can store so much information in it.
It’s a little sad that today I am not as amazed by this. I have been desensitized and that makes me a little nostalgic for the initial feelings of curiosity and amazement I had as a child. Another thing that struck me was it’s speed. The minute I wanted to play “Bugdom” all I had to do was get on my sister’s computer, make a click or two and I was playing. Honestly it took longer to convince my older sister to let me use her computer than it did to enter the program’s complicated world.