Alanas free local chat line
November 2000 post by a user named ‘Curiousgal’ on reads: ‘I have been chatting on AOL Instant Messaging [AIM] and AOL chat rooms. More enterprising youth set about creating websites through such hosting sites as Tripod, Geo Cities and Angelfire, where they erected glittery shrines to celebrities, their favourite fantasy books, and even to their own interior lives.
Are these chats of the last year stored somewhere on my hard drive? What might we find with a bit of crawling down the lines of connective tissue linking our present digital selves to our pre-SEO digital adolescence?
All Dead Journal users had their own profile page where they could list their email address and an external website.
I’d linked to a site created with five friends, a chronicle of the inanity and adventure of a memorable summer. Yet my mind returned to the toy boat at the bottom of the ocean, out of sight but not truly lost.
An e Bay commercial from 2004 opens with a ginger-haired little boy losing his toy sail boat to the tides of the Atlantic at Cape Cod in 1972.
I Googled my own Dead Journal’s tagline – ‘Welcome to Hell: Skellington Has Been Waiting For You’ – and was relieved to find zero matches.That soil was fossilising, preserving a partial archive, hidden until it is not.Long before we knew that digital surveillance for commercial and security purposes would become the status quo, many of us littered the web with personal material under the impression that we controlled its mobility and visibility (if we considered such things at all).And while tech-savvy adults were the internet’s earliest pioneers, children such as me arrived on the scene within a few short years of America Online (AOL) hitting critical mass in the 1990s.Armed with a shiny new ‘@aol.com’ email address and blessed with limited parental supervision, I ventured out into the big wild worldwide web for the first time in 1995, at the age of 10.