When I was in college my best friend introduced me to fark.com. I was there religiously every day. I read enough headlines and articles to get familiar with what tags I really wanted to read. Very routinely a tag would pop up, “Wheaton” and I would read voraciously.
I remember thinking it odd that FARK had a tag dedicated to Wheaton College, but whatever. I’d click on the links anyway and, there was a digitized Wil Wheaton. I’m not going to lie. I had NO idea who he was. I didn’t grow up in a Star Trek household and while the entirety of my clan is plenty nerdy none of us are particularly geeky. So here I was. And I felt like he got me. I loved his posts. He was (still is) smart. Was always good for pushing me a little out of my comfort zone. Then came the fateful day he posted about Twitter. This was at some point in January of 2007. He was effusive about the great things coming out of Twitter. This made me excited. At that point the community on Twitter was so small it’d only be a matter of time before Wil Wheaton and I were best friends.
But something happened on my way to friendship with him. In fact, I’ve never actually interacted with him other than the occasional fan-girling. But for the better, I did meet a whole slew of people locally who were also early adopters of Twitter. A whole slew of people who quickly became my secret keepers and unquestioned support network. No, not every member of my innermost circle is on Twitter – and for damn sure not everyone on Twitter is a part of my inner circle – but there are several people in my innermost circle I’d never have met without Twitter. Without this support system I wouldn’t be here today.
So thanks Drew Curtis for making FARK happen, thanks FARK for being so FARKing awesome, thanks Wil Wheaton for being a big enough geek to warrant your own tag on FARK. And thanks to my Hippo for introducing me to all of the above. Without all of you I’d never have hopped on the Twitter band wagon so early and without the people I met on Twitter I wouldn’t have found the strength to be here.
Addendum 8/20/14: Because I have friends who make me think – and because I saw one of them this morning for a coffee – I’ve been thinking about this all day. The question dearest Brent posed to me was this, “If you’re thankful to them why aren’t you thankful for transistors and semiconductors? (For making the Internet a possibility)” I couldn’t come up with an answer quickly. I’m actually fairly sure I looked like a fish out of water as my mouth just opened and closed over and over again. Now, close to twenty-four hours later, I recognize this as one of the greatest gifts Brent has ever given me. Because I realized Drew Curtis, Wil Wheaton, my friends on Twitter, they may have pointed me to the path of not ceasing to exist, but I’m the one who has to decide to walk it. And obviously this is something that’s harder some times than others, but here I am.
So, you’re right Brent, I did decide to save my own life. But I wouldn’t have thought my life one worth saving without the support system that’s come from Twitter and I wouldn’t have joined Twitter without Wil Wheaton being a Twitter hipster, or Fark creating a Wil Wheaton Tag.