We've done tomfoolery before (hell, we do it every day), now for something a little more serious.
It's been five years and I cannot believe it. Five years since Abuzz was imploding and Craven sent me an email one day, asking me to "form an unholy alliance". Five years since I said "sure, what the hell".
A lot has happened since then and it's hard to chronicle it all. Hard to step back and get any sort of perspective. So I'll do what I often do, with varying degrees of success, and relay a personal anecdote.
A few months ago, RP and I were having dinner with my folks and a friend of theirs and we mentioned A2K. My mother felt the need to explain what A2K is. So she said that it's a chat room.
Wellll ..... not exactly
Yes, there's chatting. The gabfest goes on and on, on topics like the Marlboro threads, and the longer word games. And the continuing Politics topics have their own communicative rhythm and flow.
But it's not just that.
It's also a community. A living, breathing, bona fide community. One that has been through much.
Ever since we started, there have been at least (and I bet I've forgotten plenty, so feel free to fill in) ...
- four births (Joahaeyo's son, Bella Dea's daughter, Wilso's daughter and amygingko's daughter).
- one adoption (boomerang, of Mo).
- eight deaths of members that we know of (timberlandko, cavfancier, mamajuana, kev, Joanne Dorel, Olen, Paola and JoanLee), plus JayBea, himself and Mary Pope from Abuzz.
- two marriages (snood and his lady love, Cheryl and even one A2Ker to A2Ker marriage, blatham and Lola).
- one divorce of an A2Ker couple (Bi-Polar bear and squinney). We wish them both well.
- numerous moves have been chronicled (sozobe's, boomerang's, etc.).
- new puppies and kittens have arrived, and old dear dogs and cats have departed (Pacco, Boo, Daizey, Big Sam, Kodi, Chloe, Oscar, Lucky, Tammy Faye Bakker, etc.)
- new jobs have been celebrated (I've been through two myself), and layoffs have been announced, and people have relocated to follow work. And retirements have been announced, too (Reyn).
- countless vacations have been photographed and shared.
- and gatherings have been celebrated around the world, in England, and in Boston, and in Wisconsin, and in Illinois, and in New York, and in Texas, and in California ....
Despite members's worries -- I guess old habits die hard -- an outage here or there does not signify the end of A2K or even much more than momentary trouble. We are here and we are here to stay, as real and as together as an offline city.
And what a city we are.
We have nearly 75,000 members. I estimate we'll actually hit the 75,000 mark in early to mid-September What does that mean, really
We'd barely fit into Giants Stadium. But that's better than at the Roman Colosseum, where we'd have to have about 1/3 of our members stand.
We're between the size of Texarkana, Texas (pop. 72,288) and Terre Haute, IN (79,376).
Or, if you prefer, between Bayreuth and Tubingen.
Or between Chalons-sur-Marne and Poitiers.
Or Burnley and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Or Trnava and Banska Bystrica.
Or Vlaardingen and Delft.
Or Xinjin and Quxian.
Or Daman and Kohima.
Or Bet Shemesh and Bene Beraq.
Or Wagga Wagga and Wollongong.
Or Medicine Hat and Kamloops.
We've most likely got more active women than men and our average age is probably at least 30, but neither of those things have ever been measured very well. Our active members are very
They talk about everything, from Religion to Home Improvements to Word Games to Parenting to Cars. And users from all around the world want to hear what they have to say, or pick their brains for all sorts of facts, from Latin translations to how to play a game on Millsbury to how to select the right water softener company. Or they just want someone to talk to, a sympathetic and often experienced ear, about everything from birth control to Philosophy to relationships to what kinds of home decorating ideas might appeal. And A2Kers oblige, often with detailed facts, or with very good advice indeed, or a point in the right direction or a link to Google and yes, at times, with a zinger. But sometimes even that's good. A2Kers have kept their sense of humor through elections, disasters and war, through personal challenges and troubles.
This is your
anniversary. Traditionally, you give wood on the fifth year; a more modern gift might be silverware. A wooden spoon to all, then, and a hope that the next five years and the next fifty are as memorable as these have been. You all give me so much joy, you have no idea. When I was growing up, on your birthday, you were told, "One hundred years and a hundred more." And so that is my wish for A2K. One hundred and one hundred more.
Long live A2K!
In closing, I'd like to share with you some of what makes A2K, well, A2K. Some are special posts, some not. But all typify the place. I hope that you will share yours as well. Party on.