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The “dot-com revolution” of the mid-to-late 1990s began to take hold just as I was entering my middle school years. I was eager to try new things, including this new Internet technology, because my inner self was also changing and becoming restless in the tiny bubble created by my small town, private school upbringing.
As soon as I registered my first e-mail address, in sixth grade, I was fascinated by the new possibilities offered by the World Wide Web. Among these was the ability to design my own web page-which I did in 1999. I began to network with other young teenagers who enjoyed web design and treated it as a form of artwork. I soon became acquainted with a girl named Kelcie, who was a year older than myself and had an admirable aptitude for web design. We became fast friends, not only because we shared a common hobby but because we were similar in many other ways as well. The fact that she was from California and I lived in Michigan was almost inconsequential to us.
For several years we kept in touch through Instant Messenger and our websites. We saw each other leave middle school and move on to high schools, with Kelcie deciding to move from a private school to a newer, larger public high school her junior year. Finally, during my junior year of high school, I was presented with the opportunity to travel to California with some friends. It just so happened that we were planning to stay at a hotel mere minutes from Kelcie’s neighborhood. Kelcie and I immediately started making plans to meet in person for the very first time, after almost 5 years of friendship.
My friends were just as excited to meet Kelcie as I was. When Kelcie arrived at the restaurant where we arranged to meet, I could hardly believe I was now standing face-to-face with someone I had grown so close to yet had never embraced in real life. We spent the entire night shopping, touring various parts of the area, and bonding like old friends. We were both sorry that I had to leave so soon-but we knew that, as always, we would keep in touch online.
Since our real-life meeting, Kelcie and I have both gained a new appreciation for the possibilities of the World Wide Web. Without this tool, I would never have met one of my best friends. Since meeting Kelcie, I have also made many other new friends through my website and other communities that I have joined online. I will always carry a deep appreciation for modern technology and the power it has to positively influence a person’s life.
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