Here you see AOL's old logo, and their new one.
I started out my online life in 1998; my then-daughter-in-law insisted AOL was the best place for a computer dummy to begin... "user-friendly", she said. I had to have our phone number changed to use AOL, because we're in the boonies here. It costs a lot more to have a metro Kansas City number.
As I recall, it was my ex-daughter-in-law who first talked me into even buying a computer. I'd heard all those horror stories about terrible things that happen online; one thing for sure, when I got onto the Internet, you weren't going to catch me in a chat room. No way. Never.
Yeah, right. I would have held onto that resolve, but I somehow found my way into a senior Christian chat room. You couldn't go there directly from AOL's chat screen, and I guess that's why it wasn't as silly as a lot of the chat rooms. I began getting to know the people. They started having "chat reunions", and my husband grudgingly took me to one such event in Dallas, Texas (to make sure an axe murderer didn't get hold of me; otherwise I'd have ridden with a lady from Arkansas).
Those people became like family, even the "black sheep". I spent far too much time in that chat, I'm afraid. (I still spend more time than I should on the Internet; what can I say, I have an addictive personality).
And then our little haven turned to Hell.
I never quite knew what happened, since nobody would say what was wrong; but here's all I could figure out: People who couldn't make it to the chat reunions got jealous (I guess those of us who had met one another did talk too much about our meetings). People started slandering and slurring, and huge hate campaigns were waged via email.
By this time I had local cable-modem, and the only reason I kept AOL was that solitary chat room. Once it was ruined, I dropped AOL and learned to use Internet Explorer and AIM. It is possible for AIM users and AOL members to create and share a chat room, so I still kept in touch with a lot of the old gang.
I bought a new Dell, and included in the purchase was six months free AOL. For the first couple of months I didn't even use it, but finally out of curiosity, I made myself a new screen name and snooped around. And discovered journals.
Oh well, there are lots of places outside AOL to blog.
Then I discovered the AOL-For-Broadband full-screen music videos, which my granddaughter, Monica, plugs into every time she's here. Pretty nifty.
Oh, and AOL has a place to make picture albums to send your friends, and store them. Most such sites on the Internet charge a fee.
Next, AOL gave me a firewall to protect my computer. Now they've come up with free antivirus protection. These are things for which I've been paying extra, for years.
AOL, I think you've got me hooked this time. You've made yourself a bargain; and I never could resist a bargain!