At the Virtual Deathbed

Published by Kate Sen in the blog Kate Sen's blog. Views: 46

Staring at the screen, I watch EP dying. No, not the cute little alien from the 1980s (although that was a great movie), Experience Project (EP), an online community scheduled to close in 17 minutes.

Why am I even still on here? I suppose it is hard to break a habit, hard to say goodbye. Maybe if I stay logged in until they shut it off, maybe I can stay logged in, forgotten and able to secretly message those of my friends who still remained logged on as well? Four of them still logged in, and alas not my favorite friends, and here goes one of them, three left.

A friend request comes in. Who is asking me to be his friend for the next 14 minutes? Should I open it, and risk seeing one final dick picture? Too late to report it if it is, what are they going to do, delete his account? I open it. The message promises a new online community opening soon elsewhere, and invites me to join them instead. Ah a scammer, trying to get my email address - I ignore it.

Despite the dick pics, and the pedophiles, and the other women who refuse to be criticized as a protected minority in their own support group, this was a good community. It felt like a cosmopolitan metropolis. A support group for everyone no matter what they wished support with, poetry or fitness fanaticism or battling depression.

It was a place to log into when one could not sleep in the middle of the night, and get a personal message from a friend, who cared enough to ask whether you were ok at 3am. Until his account got deleted by the admins for too many external links. Leaving the pedophiles and cheating women, but deleting the caring friend.

Still for many of us it was a virtual home, among those seeking enlightenment and those who had recently lost someone and those desperate teens speaking of suicide. You never knew whether they were just desperately melodramatic. If they never logged in again, did they finally find a life, or loose one? Were they even really teens? Yup, I am sure some of them were, cannot fake that level of immaturity, no matter how good one is at writing fiction.

Some of us were genuine, maybe too genuine, baring our souls underneath the cloak of anonymity to strangers whom we hoped to never meet in real life. Some made a mistake of meeting their strangers. Rumor has it that part of why EP is closing was due to an FBI investigation into a murder of one member of this online community by another in real life, after they actually met. So it took a murder. The pedophelia was not enough? All those countless teen girls insecure enough to post their photos asking strangers to give them their honest opinion whether or not they are pretty, and those old enough to be their grandpas responding that "yes, you are gorgeous. Please private message me." Nothing quite actionable there unless they did private message, and the FBI got access to what was said then, maybe.

I keep returning to the dark side of EP. Perhaps that is what I want to talk about because the good memories hurt too much, now that it is almost gone, should not focus on the good parts, lest you wish you had been there, and you can't join any more. Not enough time. It took more than 3 minutes to join.
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