Otaku,Then and Now Part 3: The Internet

I remember being at the dawn of the Internet. Well not exactly. It's been here since the 1970's but I remember things started to get moving around the 1990's.

I was a college sophomore then, looking for a part-time job around the campus. That is when I happened upon an 'internet cafe' "(Let's call it the 'University cafe' for now). Luckily they were looking for extra hands to work for around 2-4 hours a day so I went in and presented myself for student assistantship. I got hired and got paid around 300 pesos a week, which was a princely sum back then.

As for my tasks: Me and my partner for the day would clean the cafe' (it's a small one so it was easy), serve snacks, troubleshoot, keep track of the time and well basically do everything around the cafe. And my schedule ain't bad also. 2-3 hours after school was managable for me. On the plus side, we get to use the units to surf around the net for quite a bit.

In the '90's, the internet was not that as intensive as it is right now. Surfing was pretty darn expensive at around 80 pesos an hour believe it or not. There's no YouTube, no Wikipedia, no social networking sites, no manga and anime streaming sites and blogs were not called blogs yet. Practically nothing much but chatting on the IRC and look at anime shrines full of pics and whatever information the fans have at the moment. An otaku like yours truly would spend the day looking for and downloading anime jpegs on floppy disks, and that was already the BOMB. I could spend the whole day reading and looking at anime shrines and web rings (remember those?) and we'd be content. And there's pron too, but that's another story.

These days the Internet (or the 'netsu' as most of us fondly call it) is brimming with content than it was a decade ago. Web ring gave way to blogs, wikis were collated into an online encyclopedia and there are dozens and dozens of social networking and video sites out there. And who can forget the phenomenon known as online gaming?And heck, these days you can practically download almost everything from the 'net. Well almost. And the rates are cheaper, don't forget that. Suddenly, us otaku have a new frontier in which we can explore.

Alas, its not all roses. Chatrooms and online forums today gave rise to memes which most of us find amusing but socially degrading for others. 'Trolls'(the online version of bullies) abound causing a call for setting up morals on the internet.

But, as they say: It just keeps better and better...

Who knows what they will come up for next.

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