It's interesting to think back on the 12 or so years that I've been using the internet, and to see how my activities and priorities have changed.
Back in the beginning, it was all about ordering free catalogs and the chat rooms on Prodigy. Didn't know anyone else with email, so that wasn't a huge priority. Didn't realize that chat rooms could be a dangerous place to hang out, and didn't know the bad things that would evolve. I suppose that ignorance is bliss...
Then when we switched over to AOL, it was all about sharing music and photos with people I'd found online. Oh, and IM's. And hunting freebies and test drive offers. Those things were my main source of interest, and I spent hours online doing just that. And don't let me forget the shopping. I did a LOT of online shopping, mostly using coupon codes & special offers. I got a lot of really neat stuff, a lot of which I still have.
A few years ago, I switched to a local ISP, but still had dialup. I hung out on one particular message board and did a lot of freebie hunting, along with being on groups that traded/created custom made graphics and OE stationary. Loved those unique sig tags and being able to send cool emails with music, motion, and cool fonts!
When we bought our house 3 1/2 years ago, I switched over to DSL. Then I discovered scrapbooking. I spend time on an awesome scrapbooking-based MB, and get loads of inspiration and encouragement for my creativity. I sometimes sign up for a really neat freebie, but most of the time, I'm using the computer for research. I research quotes, medical information, find sketches & ideas for scrapbooking and craft projects, homeschool information, etc.
The past few months, since we've been doing hardcore work on our kitchen, I've been using the 'net primarily for price comparison and finding the exact products we want/need before going to the store to make a purchase instead of paying shipping. My new favorite site? Lowes! I spend WAY too much time on their site, and am on there yet again this morning. I'm now looking up pendent lighting for the kitchen. It's coming together quite nicely. :)
My other two favorite things to do lately? Spend time reading blogs, both of people I know and of people I've "met" online. I'm learning a lot about being a homemaker, being a woman of integrity & wisdom, I get to learn about new ideas for child-training, what life in a large family is like today, get tips and tricks to make life a bit simpler and easier, how to protect the environment by reducing waste, and the biggest draw for me - what's going on with my friends & family! It's great to be able to check out someone's blog to see the latest photos and learn what's going on in their world. It makes the world feel a bit closer and makes me feel less "out of the loop", since I'm very much a homebody who doesn't get out much.
I try to keep my blog updated as much as I can, too. It's neat to be able to take a picture of something really cute that the girls are doing and upload it to my blog, then send their Mommies an email to check it out, and they get to go see it right away! I like being able to use my blog to share the special moments with them as they happen. That's a good thing.
I also love my email. Let me just say that I *heart* Gmail!!! It's one of the greatest invention since sliced bread. JMHO. :) I love being able to have conversations with family & friends in real time without having to use the phone. It makes my day to be able to have these convos, and invariably it makes me feel good for the rest of the day, because I feel loved. :)
Like I said in the beginning, it's neat to see how my priorities and activities have changed over the years. Guess it's a sign that I'm growing up. :)