Jeff Pack, Brown University '99 (English 112, 1996)

Digerate: "digitally literate"; that is, having a familiarity with computers.

Most of the theory out there about computers, networks, hypertext, etc. has been written by people who either were exposed to the "digital universe" much later than other media, or who have had limited, if any, exposure. William Gibson's Neuromancer, for example, which coined the term "cyberspace" and has influenced ideas about how interfaces should work, was written on a typewriter.

There's another group of digerati out there, though: a new generation that's grown up with computers. What do they have to say about cyberspace? Surprisingly, very little. Searching around the Web for a while, I couldn't find anything among the under-twenty set even attempting to follow the trends of writers like Heim and Novak. This could be attributed to youth, if not for the fact that one can find e-zines written by teenagers dealing with topics ranging punk music to poetry to postmodernism. While there's plenty of material in cyberspace, there's not much about it. This web is, in part, an attempt to remedy that, or possibly just to explain it. But it's about more than just computers; it's about the relation between computer and user. There's a lot of autobiographical information in this web, and more than a bit of nostalgia. It's my story, and I'm not going to make the claim that the effects of computers I talk about apply to everyone.

So, that said, where do I begin? Most autobiographies start at birth, or a short prelude describing how one's parents met. For this web, however, such things aren't very important. A birthdate (February 14, 1977) may prove useful if you're the sort of person who likes to do the math and figure out how old I was when various things happened, but isn't very necessary since I am that sort of person and will probably do it for you if I feel it's important. Where this story really begins is in 1983, when our family purchased its first computer.

EL112 WebBody & Self OVTitleIndex