Friends! Happy birthday!!!! I understand that it’s probably not everyone’s birthday, but yesterday was my birthday, and I love wishing everyone a happy birthday around this time. This way you can’t say I didn’t wish you happy birthday this year because I just did! Happy birthday!!!!!!

This week has been weird. I wrote a little, there was a terrifying rain storm that knocked out my power for over twelve hours, I cleaned a little, and I woke up a year older, which is always so fucking weird. Aging has a way to get me thinking about the past, as a professional Internet Gay, I found myself thinking about some of my previous social media hangouts.

Pre-Facebook, I spent most of my time on Myspace. I’m not gonna get into it because it honestly fills me with SUCH embarrassment, but I did write about it for Autostraddle, so if you wanna see what kind of obsessive teenager I was, feel free to read about it. I also only very recently gave up my Tumblr account, which I honestly loved, because I accidentally got into an argument with a bunch of 14-year-olds. Like, actual, living, 14-year-olds. Not to be obnoxious, but whatever happened to algebra homework?? Anyway, fighting with teens felt unproductive, so I left. What can I say, I’m a Gemini who loses interest in things very quickly and drops them even quicker. I’ve also had Facebook for far too long. I recently found a post from a week before I turned 16. Who let me use the internet then???

a post from me, a baby.

But y’all! Do you remember ASS?? ASS stood for AutoStraddle Social and was a social networking thing we experimented with on the site a few years ago. It was so cute and fun! Me and the folks in my cabin from A-Camp tried really hard to make a cabin group but never figured it out. I recently looked at my profile and realized the last time I changed my status was when ASS was a real thing! When was the last time you looked at your Autostraddle profile and all the multitudes it contains? You should do that now. You should update your status and tell me what you changed it to! I bet someone worked hard behind the scenes to make sure you could do cool fun things like tell us your favorite book and TV show.

So what was your first social networking site? What is your favorite website that’s fallen out of fashion? What do you miss about the early days of social media? I miss when Facebook statuses used to start with a verb, so it’d be a sentence: “Al(aina) is feeling like a boss.” It was fun. Or maybe you don’t ever use social media and never have and just want to tell me about your week? That’s also a very cool prospect that I’m excited about. I can’t wait to hear about anything you want to tell me!

Happy Friday, friends, and happy birthday to you all!! Now let’s talk about ASS (and other social media networking sites).

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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. Happy birthday, @alarae!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ok, but before I show you my ASS, maybe we can talk a little? Because that’s well beyond first base…


    The minute social media came out i was IN DEEP. I loved it and spent all my time on Xanga and the Law and Order SVU forums. Because I had a very heterosexual interest in the relationship between Olivia Benson and Alex Cabot.

    I’m glad no one does Xanga anymore because most people truly cannot write ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

  3. happy birthday, al!!!! i joined AS right when the ASS thing was being pushed hard. i was so excited about it! i remember changing my status and friending so many people! it was a whole thing! and then there was, like, a comment drive, and one of the top commenters was gonna win an A+ membership, and I TRIED SO HARD and at the end of the week I didn’t win the membership but I WAS addicted to commenting. They should do that again!

  4. Happy Birthday!!!!! I hope you had delicious cake (or other treat of your choice)!

    When I was a teenage Renthead (devout fan of the musical Rent), I was very active on the fan-made Rent message board, Compulsive Bowlers. I was super into theatre-related message boards. I didn’t do a lot of in-person socializing as a teenager, so message boards were my thing.

    I loved AIM. I still enjoy Facebook messenger, probably because it’s basically the same thing as AIM, minus away messages and custom screen names.

    I did use Myspace proudly, but I’ve always been a Facebook gal. Mark Zuckerberg and I share a hometown, so I like to say I’m supporting local business. I never met him, but I had classmates with older siblings in his year, and I knew some folx who went to his dad for dentistry (Dr. Zuckerberg’s dental practice was in their house).

    I oddly kind of miss social media of the early 2000s.

    • Wow, I haven’t heard “Renthead” in forever, but I was a teenage Renthead too!

    • oh i LOVED aim but i hate messenger?? but that’s so interesting bc they are essentially the exact same thing!

  5. Happy birthday!! My dad’s birthday was 6th June, he would have been 76 this year. I still have all the feels, even though he died 5 1/2 years ago.

    I’m still clinging on to LJ by my nails, even though a lot of people have given up on it. I do have Dreamwidth, but LJ was where fandom really took off for me, after starting on mailing lists. (God, I feel old!!)

    • I still keep my LJ updated, although less frequently than I’d like, probably due to depression. I’ve always found it such a good venue to genuinely mull over matters with friends, with its great threading, and niceties like per-comment icons (I keep a stock of around 140 to choose from =:), not to mention per-entry security – most of my entries are public, but work/jobhunt matters I’ll tuck away.

      Mailing lists were fantastic, too!

      So, is anyone else going to admit to being a Usenet veteran? ^_^

    • Hi Andi,
      My dad would have been 72 earlier this year. Gone 17 1/2 years. Sending you a hug or other comforting gesture of your choice.

      Not looking forward to the year I realize I’ve lived longer without him than with him.

  6. When I was in college I had a livejournal, but my big thing was AIM and away messages. I was very into the hack that inserted the username of a person into your away message. So if you looked at mine it might say “Dreaming of being at A-Camp with Al(aina)” and that felt very exciting until you realized what was going on. Also there was a girl in my music program who would detail her entire day in ridiculous ways on her away message: “5:00 am going to the gym! 8:00 am music theory, 10-1 Practicing” and she absolutely did NOT work out at 5 am or practice for three hours a day and it was very annoying.

    In other news!! I just finished Robin Talley’s new book PULP and she TOTALLY MENTIONS AUTOSTRADDLE!! In the actual book itself and in the acknowledgements!! PULP is not out yet but when it is released you should definitely read it because it is about a queer girl who becomes obsessed with a particular lesbian pulp novel from 1955 and sets out to find the mysterious author, and also the story of the author who wrote the lesbian pulp novel and her coming out in the 1950s and the Lavender Scare and it is SO meta and SO gay and SO delightful I squealed out loud on many occasions!!!!

    • omg i don’t understand this hack fully but i love it! and i also love fake planning/lying about your day on your AIM away message!!! was this girl a vocalist because we loved lying about how much we practiced in undergrad!

      • Oh absolutely she (and I) were voice majors. I mean EVERYONE lied about how much they practiced but she was SO EXTRA about it.

        • alex i used to say i practiced 25 hours a week on my jury form! that’s almost 4 hours EVERY DAY!

  7. My favorite early social media memory was a Sports Night themed newsgroup. God I loved that show and the other weirdos who loved it.

    Other than that… I remember Xanga in middle school and how much fun Facebook was at first in uni. But dear God am I glad I left it years ago. I’m pretty sure 99% of social media will just never be good for me.

    I would probably be better off leaving Twitter, but for now it’s my main source of women’s sports news/community. So until I make local friends that care/women’s sports get wider coverage, I need to learn to manage healthy Twitter usage. The woso community is rad, but it’s hard not to get sucked in to all the news and internet rage cycle.

    I compulsively click and click and click when there’s something happening I feel any kinda way about. Like today I was working really well on reading some theory for my PhD and then I took a break and saw the news about Anthony Bourdain, who I adored, and click click click the afternoon away. Oops.

    I used the Freedom app to limit twitter time before, but disabled it when it interfered with my Netflix. I probably need to set it back up so I can turn it on at least when I need to work and Netflix is also a no-go. Le sigh.

    The only social media I use pretty successfully is Instagram. I cut way back on how many people I follow and pretty much just post my dog to it. The images I do see are ones I am happy to see and there aren’t so many that I feel the need to constantly check. Plus, the world needs to see my dog.

    I’m still in several ASS groups, but since there weren’t very noticeable notifications of posts, I wouldn’t see posts until 2 months later so it never got very interactive. I appreciate it not being super-intrusive like social media is usually designed to be, but also it was easy to forget it existed.

    Happy Birthday! I hope it was full of love.

    • Sports Night was such a great show. I still think about naming a company Quo Vadimus one day

    • i want you to know i uninstalled freedom earlier this week during a session yesterday because i wanted to check twitter that bad.

      also thank you!

    • I was dragged kicking and screaming onto Twitter for work. I need to follow certain people to get important updates on what’s going on with the profession. I don’t post much, but I follow a bunch of heretical people (for multiple values of heretical) so it’s amusing to watch the fireworks from afar at times. I also find it useful for tracking severe weather.

  8. Happy birthday!

    I created my first true social networking account in June 2000 on a beta test for a Swedish social network called Lunarstorm.

    I had just graduated from 9th grade, which in Sweden is when you leave your childhood friends behind and everyone goes their separate ways to whatever school or vocational training they were accepted to in a bigger city. A few days later I found my drama class crush, who I thought I’d never ever see again, on the site and left a message, not expecting any kind of response. We’ve been married for 11 years.

  9. Just wrote this in the A+ comment box, but I’m gonna put it here too so everyone can see it.

    FYI, in yet another example of how the world prefers asinine bluster to brilliant women, Doug Ford (brother of the late former-mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford) has just become Premier (that’s Canadian for Governor) of Ontario, the most populous province (read: state) in Canada, beating out not only two much better qualified women for the Progressive Conservative party leader nomination, but also incumbent Premier Kathleen Wynne (a lesbian!) of the Liberal party, and Andrea Horwath of the New Democratic Party in last night’s general election.

    Running on a (totally un-costed) platform of tax cuts for the wealthy, freezing the minimum wage, preventing comprehensive sex-education in schools, allowing protests and harassment outside of abortion clinics, and $1.00 beer (no, I’m not joking…) he managed to win enough seats in rural and suburban ridings (what we call districts) to win a majority of seats in the provincial legislature – despite the fact that he only won 40% of the popular vote.

    After 2016, a lot of us Canadians smugly said to each other: “Those dumb Americans, this would never happen here.”

    Well, it just did.

    Oh, and irony of ironies – the only reason Doug Ford was able to run for the PC party leadership was because the former PC party leader, Patrick Brown, was ousted back in February when it came to light that he had a history of sexually harassing women he worked with, and buying alcohol for underage girls in bars.

  10. Happy birthday!!

    Gotta go off topic here, I just found out one of the reasons my cishet white male roommate follows Autostraddle(aside from learning and growing and shit) is so he knows which shows/movies I’m gonna want on our Plex server!!!


  11. My first real social network was AIM/AOL. I grew up in the days when that was still a thing and when Netscape(which even had a version with AIM built in) was the cool alternative to Internet Explore and Safari(well whatever the browser for OS 8/9 was called). It’s where it all went down from catfishing to gossiping, many times in private chat-rooms. Then in HS(think 2001 era) I started using this free site called teen-matchmaker. It was like OKCupid meets AIM meets myspace in some ways. It was a dating site for teens where one could chat, meet new people, and share ones favorite song like myspace let. It even had option to put down if you are bi or gay. There was also ones for lesbians, college students, and a dating service for various religions(I tired the Jewish one but it was void of teens). It didn’t really work out well. Myspace on the other hand was a real mess. I think Justin Timberlake now has shares in myspace & it’s a music sharing social site.

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines has been mixed. I had a nice time(as always) Sunday at Cuties coffee with friends and the other regulars who come. Was suppose to meet up queer from Tinder there, but didn’t pan out(forgot). Was suppose to meet up with person I’m friends with/was in a relationship with, but got stood up(also forgot). Same night someone from tinder, which apparently was the second time we matched, didn’t agree with something I said called me a man and then said it won’t work out. Of course it won’t because I am trans woman-ish, not a man. I won’t have not of that bs calling me a man cause you are not a fan of something I said. Thankfully with the help of breathing, friends, and mary I didn’t cry in the shower(I couldn’t cause water heater also broke that night).

    I’d be fine with being alone if I didn’t see all these happy lgbtq couples and cool couples like Chrissy and John(seriously that Arthur commercial for google is great & can’t wait to switch my phones google assistance to John’s voice) all over tv and social. Any tips? It’s also LA pride weekend, and I am a bit over pride this year as I did Long Beach last month. I may just get into my car and go to Santa Monica mountains to hike and wind my car out blasting music. Something to clear my head.

    I don’t have anything too new, but wrote another one of these recently.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive and safe weekend?

    • It it is hard not to be jealous of how cute Chrissy and John are. Even when you’re in a relationship. :p

      That comment on Tinder was such a shitty thing to say. On the bright side, you dodged a bullet and won’t have to waste time in the actual presence of someone who would make such a trash remark.

      Enjoy your hike!

      • I did dodge a bullet cause my gender isn’t conditional and it’s mentioned in my profile too avoid mistakes.

        I think those two may just be my favorite straight couple atm, and both are genuinely real and funny(her twitter clapbacks are gold).

      • It was, plus now that I think about it it was reasonably accepting with options to identify as lesbian, bi, and gay. It even had like 15 questions you had to answer to get matches. Simple stuff like favorite color and do you like dogs and cats.


    i only got into social media when i was in high school (thank God) and that was literally so i could continue my conversations with people i had seen at school less than four hours ago. im not a phone person, like talking on the phone is not a good time for any party included (even my mom was like………..i’ll just wait til i see you at home), so social media? A BLESSING. my friends would leave me videos on my wall, i’d leave impassioned(?/idk the word they were full of passion) posts in response, it was a whole new world for me! i only got twitter when i heard about so many poets/literary communities out there and tumblr cause its gay (which i still hold on to even if i dont check it as much as i used to/i still have friends who mean a lot to me there too)and i still love them a lot idk, twitter is better since ive learned how to block and mute, and instagram, i never wouldve thought would be like the “it” thing but because of _personals_ and stuff, i really love it!

    my week was lowkey terrible im recovering from bronchitis but its better now! and i was really depressed because i was thinking about how i have to go back to work but then yesterday i decided to try and write about it? and i feel a little better? and that is a blessing i never even expected like i still dont want to go but im also making peace that its gonna be shit, its gonna get me paid until the next step, and a-camp helped with this a lot: im still me. im not someone who’s undeserving of respect and i dont need to endure touch i do not want or ask for and triggers me, im still me and they can’t keep fucking that up for me. i think its something that i need to re-remember like every week, but at least now i *know* its something i gotta wake up and work through everyday. idk, i kinda lost my train of thought there. but anyways I STILL MISS EVERYONE SO MUCH CAN WE GET ASS BACK MORE ASS

    also i became an ordained minister

    im going to see ocean’s 8 w my family in a few minutes and i might see my best friend this weekend and even though i cant go to capturing fire cause of work im still v proud of my friends who are competing and i got a book ive wanted for a year and im v excited!!!!!!! i hope you all have the best weekend!!!

  13. I hope you had a good birthday. My mom’s birthday was yesterday also. She would have been 84. My dad turns 84 next week. My parents were born 6 months apart in the same county in South Carolina. They didn’t meet until they were adults, attending a revival. They had been married 53 years when my mom passed away. They were kind of sweet together.

    I go on social media to look at pictures of dogs, mountains, women, and to skim when I’m bored. I rarely interact with anybody. I like being able to see what’s going on in the world but I do not want to participate in it.

    Several years ago when I was hospitalized, recovering from a failed suicide attempt, one of the therapists gave me a copy of Kitchen Confidential. He knew I had been a chef and that I liked to read. He would ask me questions about some of the things in the book. So, every day after group we would have a short 5-minute conversation about cooking and working in restaurants. I cannot express how impactful and important that was to my recovery. It really saddens me to hear the news about Anthony Bourdain. But I get it. Between Kate Spade and him, on top of my mother’s birthday, I have been triggered and had to call and check in with my therapist. She was just like “I’ve been waiting for your call”. I’m grateful that I have the ability to do self-care today. I have to be judicious about what websites I go on today and what I read.

    I don’t have any plans for the upcoming week. Last night I went to a Women Who Hike gathering and that was awesome. So I’ll probably be hitting several trails over the next few days.

    • Sending some extra love your way. Good job using your therapist and practising self-care.

    • Hi Denise, I hope you find some peace on the trails. May you have whatever kind of weather you most prefer for hiking. Thank you for being present here.

  14. My thoughts on what I want from season three of “Riverdale”:
    – The main plot of the season should be a struggle between Hiram, the most powerful person in Riverdale, and Cheryl, the richest person in Riverdale. The Ghoulies should be muscle for Hiram, while the Serpents are the same for Cheryl.
    – Kevin’s dad should be hired on as private security for Blossom industries. That way the sheriff continues to be in Hiram’s pocket. Cheryl should still be unrepentant that she got him fired.
    – Hiram, and his Legion of Doom, should slowly, but surely, gain the upper hand in this struggle. That is until sometime around the middle of the season someone shoots Hiram.
    – The person that shot him should be Betty as the Black Hood. The slow erosion of Riverdale, and it’s take over by the Legion of Doom should have a deleterious effect on Betty’s mental state until she decides to punish these “sinners”.
    – Cheryl, and nobody else, should be aware that Betty is the Black Hood.

    • i watched half of the first episode of riverdale, but from everything i’m seeing it really does get better



    The first social media thing I had was Facebook, and that was because it was for some part time job I had at the 2012 Olympics. Al, I gave up on Tumblr many years ago. I really tried to hang on after Glee ended but there was nothing keeping me there.

  16. OK so, first of all, this happened and I am too excited not to talk about it. Sorry.

    Totally not intentional, but kind of fitting that I released it during Pride month. If you like fantasy and/or have enjoyed RPGs in your life, I encourage you to check it out. It is not explicitly about queer themes (although individuality and personal integrity are major motifs), but it does have some queer main characters. Sadly, one of them doesn’t get introduced until the teaser at the end for the second installment, but hey, just adds to the buildup for the next one, amirite?

    I didn’t do social media per se (unless you count participation in forums) until college, when I was an early adopter of Facebook. I was one of those people saying “ugh, Facebook is ruined” when it was opened up to other colleges, and then later everybody. I stand by that statement. I’m only on FB now because it’s my only way of contacting certain people I like, including family. I’ve also been forced onto Twitter for professional reasons, but I rarely post.

    I do remember ASS!!!! I forgot that was the acronym for it, but of course it was! I (?Maybe?) still have a tumblr, use it sometimes, but definitely have tried to keep it very separate from other social media stuff, cause it has a lot of embarrassing stuff that people don’t need to know about me but I also don’t want to completely delete?? idk? I feel stuck in it sometimes.
    Honestly been having the kind of days/weeks where every day is a lifetime and so much is happening/blurring together. Like I told a cutie I had coffee with yesterday, I kinda just want some boring routine days where nothing really happens, good or bad. If I were to update my status it would be something like ‘enjoying the rain, these leftover redvines from work last night, and thinking about cute people’.

    • boring routine days are literally all i hope for in the summer, and it’s never true

  18. Happy birthday!!!

    My first social media was Facebook, and it’s really the only one I still use somewhat consistently today. I’m so happy that I never got into Myspace because I know I would have definitely embarrassed myself!

    About 2 months ago I broke up with my fiance who I had been with for the past 4 years, and I realized Facebook has this nice feature that lets you hide posts that your ex and you have tagged each other in that pops up after you change your relationship status to single. That made my social media purge a lot easier. Thanks to my wonderful amazing friends, I’m actually starting to feel okay and even good. It’s nice to get involved in queer woman culture again and come back to Autostraddle after a bit of a hiatus, and I’ve even started talking to a really cute girl on OkayCupid! It’s amazing what a fresh start and some new clothes can do for your confidence!

    • wow! good guy facebook for the first time ever!!! i’m glad you’re getting that fresh start!

  19. Shook my ass at a pride dance party but did neglect to watch my self and may have hurt self.
    Did not check beware of wreck.

    That is what I wanted to tell ya and happy birthday fellow June babe and fly Gemini.

  20. I miss myspace!! I miss spending ages tweeking code to make sure your profile looked just right, and choosing a profile song. It was so exclusive a social space with no thought that employers or coworkers or parents would ever care to see it. But that’s probably because i was 13.
    What i do not miss was the drama surrounding who was in your Top 8. Friendships were broken all over the world because of the order and inclusion in that exclusive little group of friends. It was brutal.

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