I've been online since I was 15. That was 25 years ago. Back then, it was BBSes using C-net 10.0.
You could say that I've grown up entirely living online. Before people used twitter for facebook to express their every inappropriate thought, I was mouthing off on things that I really shouldn't be mouthing off on (or at least, things that shouldn't be held up to scrutiny).
This year I started to live life in "the real world". And to give you just an idea of how out of touch with "the real world" I was let me explain what my life has been like for the past 20 or so years:
In the morning, I'd get up, go to work, work on "stuff" on the computer until I was too tired or too hungry to continue, then come home, eat, and then get back online to do more work until I had to go to bed and repeat.
I know I'm not alone in that. Some people squander that energy and time on MMOs and such. I know, I've squandered more than my fair share of time on everything from Ultima Online, WoW, Total Annihilation (boneyards), Warcraft 3, Starcraft, Diablo, Counterstrike, L4D, Stellar Frontier, Demigod, countless internet forums.
But for the most part, I prefer to make stuff than consume stuff. Most of the stuff I've made in my career has failed. That's the thing about running any sort of business. Most of the time, you fail. Because a successful business person means you get used to failing a LOT.
So anyway, last year kind of sucked. It shouldn't have. My business made money and our company had its best year ever. It was a huge benchmark year for Stardock
In 2010, Stardock's software was pre-loaded on a near majority of PCs. Every Dell came with the DellDock (made by Stardock) and every HP was coming with Fences. A royalty on every PC sold. We had Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy which was awesome and we released Fences Pro. And let's face it, Fences was probably the most significant non-game new piece of WIndows software released in 2010. Millions and millions of downloads. Not as sexy as a Minecraft or an Angry Birds but I'd bet more people are using Fences (more to the point, I KNOW more people are using Fences) than virtually anything else released for the PC last year.
The only downer for the whole year was Elemental: War of Magic. But what a downer it was. At least for me. I'm really the type of person who takes the good things in life for granted and fixates on the negative. Not a healthy thing but it is what it is.
The toxicity of the Internet really came home last year. It's interesting how toxic the net has gotten over the past decade. It's not been an overnight process either.
The sheer hate you see online is really breathtaking if you think about it. Endless September doesn't even begin to describe it.
Most people online I meet are great. So I don't want to paint the net as some sort of festering pit of asbergerism. I'm just saying that there's enough man-childism going around on the net now that last year's War of Magic debacle managed to wake me up and spend some time in the real world.
And it turns out, the real world is pretty nice. And boy have I gotten out of touch with it. They have self-checkout lines at grocery stores. I watered plants recently. I got a dog. It's amazing how easy it is to become consumed with work, especially when work involves being online every waking hour.
Last year I felt the fatigue creeping up on me which is why I told my friends i was going to take a sabbatical in 2010. I didn't get to do that of course but now I am and it's great. As I type this, I'm at home, with my kids playing in the yard, my puppy napping and just relaxing.
The Internet is still a place of wonder and enjoyment but a little balance can go a long way. Just something to consider for fellow travelers who have grown up on the Internet.