This weekend merhawk and I are celebrating our anniversary. As I've noted in years past, which anniversary it is depends on how you count it. You see, we got married on the anniversary of our first date. Our first date was 22 years ago.
Writing about this milestone on social media is unusually appropriate because our first date, in 1994, involved social media. Except back then it wasn't called social media. It was just "the Internet", and very few people knew about it.
We met via a Usenet newsgroup, rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan. Newsgroups were like a really modern form (at the time) of bulletin board systems that developed in the 300bps dial-up age. Newsgroups were later replaced by web chat sites that... basically were like bulletin board systems again. Except now with the ability to embed pictures such that they're often about as slow to load as plain-text pages were back in the 300bps dial-up age. Ahh, progress!
Anyway, "Rasfwrj", as we called it for short, was a group devoted to discussion of books about the author Robert Jordan, particularly his Wheel of Time series. Like pretty much everything about the Internet at the time, the group was scoped specifically to discuss a sub-subcategory of an idea. And like pretty much everything about the Internet at the time, it was becoming— much to the consternation of the Asperger types prevalent online at the time— more about the community of people who were there than the idea whose name was on the proverbial door. In other words, it was the literal birth of social media.
Hawk and I met in person in September 1994 after exchanging messages via newsgroup, email, and telephone. Part of our first date was a "darkfriend social" with more than a dozen people from rasfwrj. The original summary of that event I posted to the newsgroup is still available on a web page I created years ago. Note, though, that the date is off by a few days. I'm not sure how that happened....
We weren't the only people who met online at the dawn of social media, nor even the only people who met via rasfwrj. Many other people on the group formed relationships with each other. Some were just dates/hookups but several got married, as we did. 22 years after that first date brokered by online flirting, here we are.