skew * two *  january 95
The Sections Dammit Snyder, Your Line is Always Busy
by Scott Snyder

It is confession time - I am an Internet Neophyte, barely a month out of the Timid Exploration phase of my cyber-life, as it were. How quickly one becomes... not jaded, exactly, but less timid, less obsequious. I no longer feel compelled to follow the Newbie links. I have my Net legs and don't feel faintly nauseous anymore.

I got the following voice-mail message from my sister a couple weeks ago, during the obsessive period: "You're on the 'information highway' again. I hope you crash and burn. You jerk. Don't you talk to people anymore?" In fact, at the time, I didn't talk to people anymore. I communed. I followed interminable link trails, wending my way from hot list to hot list. When I circled round to a link I had already followed, I felt as though I had been somewhere, which I had - I'd been in a circle. On an automotive highway, I would long since have been peeved beyond my capacity to travel farther. As it was, I was enthralled that my computer could do all this. My sister was right to be concerned.

At least my sister got to leave a message. Before voice mail, there was the Busy Signal phase, during which people would call me at three in the morning, for revenge. "Dammit, Snyder," they would say, "get your Mac off the phone." My mother won't buy a modem for my sister. "What if there's an emergency?" she says plaintively. "No one could reach us. Or what if she never comes back? What if she ends up like you?"

She won't, though. My sister is too smart for that, or too social. There are, thankfully, some to whom the allures of the Internet are but mild. Perhaps they will miss the boat... I don't know. Perhaps they will rule the world.

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