After a very crazy encounter and clash of my current life and my online past last year I finally took things to the next level: I met up with a bunch of people from the internet, some who I have known for almost ten years. Only online of course. Like, twenty people. When we first got to know eachother, we were teenagers, now we are young adults so needless to say the weekend turned into a big intoxicated mess somewhere in the middle of Neukölln. It was almost shocking how well we all got along and how much we really had in common.
My theory: If you spent your youth on the internet in the 00s you will inevitably have developed in a certain way by the time your reach your early twenties. True fact.
When we started, being online was a lot less common and you had to learn how to use it, how it works and how to communicate. We were not the cool kids from Tumblr, we were just a bunch of nerdy teenagers. I mean, come on, when I was young it was considered fairly “uncool” to spend a lot of time in front of the computer. Nobody I knew “in real life” got what I was doing there. I have no idea how they spent all their free time after school (seriously, we got home at like 2pm every day, what the hell did everyone else do with all that free time???), all I know is that nowadays we don’t hang out anymore and have nothing in common.
I still remember the first time I met somebody from the internet, I must have been around 13. Julia lived near Frankfurt, we were active on the same message boards and had been chatting on ICQ and it took a couple of phone calls between my parents and hers and a lot of convincing until I was allowed to buy a train ticket. We spent an entire weekend at her place gossiping and fangirling about our favourite bands, listening to music, taking photos and eating candy. It was pretty funny and innocent and it convinced my parents that the people from the internet were in fact real and not hairy old paedophiles.
Fast forward ten years, I’m now 23 and way too old for any paedophile to be remotely interested in me. I have my own life, I’m not that shy anymore and have become pretty good at faking self-confidence. Yet I feel slightly nervous on my way to Alexanderplatz where I’m meeting the first girls from the group. This time we drink vodka, Pfeffi and beer, hang out in a flat round the corner from my house, order pizza with spaghetti on top to nurse our hangovers and for a couple of hours one of us brings her baby, the first baby, who is making funny noises and rolling around on the white carpet that will later be soaked in beer and other liquids.
It’s a weird world, meeting people you have known for SO LONG for the first time in real life and instantly getting along. Realising how everybody looks exactly like they do on their photos (while making up silly excuses why I don’t) and that instant feeling of familiarity and friendship even though you have literally just met a couple of hours ago. We all wear our “Hello my name is” stickers, listen to trashy music, yelling goats and Youtube remixes, bleach parts of my hair, film our very own Harlem Shake video and wallow in almost ten years of inside jokes. Now the internet has finally become real.