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And aside from the away message, there just isn't really a better example of something that neatly and concisely depicts the often mortifying process of navigating through your teens.
Maybe the senior yearbook quote, which was away message-level bad in my case.
I had a now-embarrassing Sega-inspired name -- Alpha Tails -- and a profile box to fill with ~*feelings*~, song lyrics, janky HTML and links to my Live Journal and Photobucket. My Space came around, but that was an asynchronous bulletin to posture and fiddle with my first passive online presence.
I was there with a group of Singaporean classmates, but I was eager to embrace American culture and joined the student radio station to branch out.
There, I made lots of good friends, at least two of whom I now consider lifelong buddies. )AIM was instrumental in fostering many of my friendships then.
Tech has removed so many obstacles to communication: There's nothing like waiting up all night to see for your best friend or romantic interest and getting a thrill when the AIM's "opening door" SFX announced their presence.
Now, everyone is online, always, and accessible via miracle-thin computers in their pockets.