I think you can a lot about a person from looking at their Chrome start page which reveals their most visited sites. The above screenshot was taken this morning and is of my Chrome start page.
I remember getting off the school bus at a stop a few blocks away from my dad’s house. I was in seventh or eighth grade and I run upstairs to my bedroom where a Windows PC – virtually prehistoric by today’s standards- awaited me. I would sit on that computer for hours, talking on AIM and then eventually Myspace with my friends until it was time to start dinner. I haven’t thought about this, my first computer in a long time, in at least five years but in writing this post and reminiscing about the excitement I got from waiting for my broadband connection to America Online to load fills me with a rush a gratitude and an overwhelming thankfulness for the advances in technology that have been made since 2005.
I consider myself a digital native. I was one of the first of my friends to get a cell phone: I was only in 4th grade but the year was 2002 and I live in New York City. I have a smartphone that pretty regularly saves me from my ineptitude with directions and my poor spatial awareness. I have a Facebook page that I check almost impulsively despite the fact that I care very little for the vast majority of my “friends” on the site. I always have headphones in my ears connected to the Pandora App on my phone or my iPod and my entire life would come crumbling down around me if I didn’t have access to Gmail and GoogleDrive for 24 hours.
My connectedness to the digital is what I would consider for a 21 year old female college student in 2013 to be typical but there are a few digital frontiers that I have actively resisted and avoided. I don’t have Instagram and only have a Twitter because it was mandated of me for this class. I don’t have a Vine and only have SnapChat after months of prodding from my friends. I like my digital experience to be, like my non-digital experience, community based and free from unnecessary attention.
Moving from the general to the quotidian, my Google Chrome start page accurately shows the websites that I spend most of my day on. While I have already touched on my dependence on Gmail and my reluctant participation in Facebook the number one website that I can and have spent hours upon hours on is blogging website Tumblr. Anyone who knows me knows that Tumblr is a pretty big part of my digital existence.
I got on tumblr about a year and half ago after I decided to transition back to having natural hair. The blogs I followed quickly evolved from just hair blogs to blogs that focus on black history and news, a few blogs that keep me connected with the Scandal and Marvel Cinematic Universe fandoms and blogs run by black women who make me laugh, who understand the struggle of inhabiting a body that is both black and female and who actively participate in the dismantling systems of white power and patriarchy. Last semester, my junior spring, I changed concentrations (and in changing concentrations changed the entire professional and academic trajectory of my life) after I realized how much I loved spending time learning and appreciating black culture and thinking critically about issues that effect the black community.
For me there is something really beautiful and freeing about being able to remain as anonymous as you’d like while also being able to make real personal connections with people around the world. I could ramble on about how wonderful of a space Tumblr is but in the interest of both my time and yours I’m just going to post links to the blogs whose posts I reblog and like the most.