I was living in Seattle in a place with broadband and had just discovered Napster, LISNews and MetaFilter [which I described as "the lovely MetaFilter"] in the same week, somehow. I was active in "the Seattle blog scene" so I assume someone mentioned it to me but my email archives are mysteriously blank. I made my first post two days later and met mathowie at SXSW, fleetingly, in March of that year.
AAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! (Seattle earthquake)
I had never really had a nerd posse when I was a kid. I went to a small enough school where being a girl who was into computers was pretty much a clique of one. I got away from technology in college and then wound up in Seattle in the 90s where anyone who could type could, for a time, get a job making good money doing basically anything. I liked having a group of online people who got my jokes and were up at weird hours and knew about computers. Many of them even lived in Seattle.
I was already sort of shifting away from Seattle to the East Coast when the Seattle Earthquake of 2001 hit. I was in the process of fussing with my landlords over a broken furnace and the inspector was supposed to come over that day. Instead there was an earthquake. Once I figured out that I was okay, I hopped online to see how other people were. There was a big MetaFilter thread about it with people talking about what was happening and what they knew, in real time. It's funny now to look at that thread and its 97 comments and remember what a big deal it was, being able to real-time talk about breaking news with people you knew and liked. We sort of take it for granted now, but it was all new and pretty terrific then. The last comment in the thread is
"wow, you guys beat the national news. that kicks ass!"
My favorite thing, looking back at that thread now, is how many of those people I'm still in touch with in one way or the other. I had dinner with one of them last night, one is my boss, another went hiking with my boyfriend at a meetup this past weekend, a few have married and had children, some are still on MetaFilter, some aren't, only a few are total mysteries to me. To me that drives home the place as a real place where the people you know are. And sure for me now it's also my workplace, but it would never have gotten to that point if it hadn't been a place I liked to hang out in the first place.