I had some other ideas for a post for tonight, but then I checked my email and saw that Youth Guardian Services (an organization that I have been a part of since I was 15, and that I now have the honor of leading) received a generous and completely unsolicited donation today.
The note included was very short: “I fondly remember my time on the Youth lists and how much they helped me. Thanks for saving my life.”
I read it, and read it again. It’s not that this is news – we actually get this kind of feedback pretty often at YGS – but repetition doesn’t lessen the impact of this kind of thing.
I wrote a few days ago that I am “from USENET, and from some early web BBs, but mostly I’m from LiveJournal.”
That was true, but let me be more specific: where I’m from on the internet is caring communities that are in the business of saving lives, every night, just by being safe and being there. I’m from BrainTalk, which was a wonderful community before the project got abandoned by MGH and Harvard, and from ssyglb, whose tireless moderators carved out and defended a safe(ish – it is USENET, after all) space on USENET for GLBTQ teens. Finally, I’m from the YOUTH lists, a project of YGS that has helped nearly 10,000 GLBTQ young people reach out safely and anonymously and get the support they need to survive.
So that’s where I’m from. And that’s why I’m so interested in the ways that technology connects people, why staying involved in the life of the internet has been so important to me over the years.
Anyway. Internet saves lives – that was my point. And if you want to get involved, well, YGS is looking for a web designer to revamp our website, which is starting to show its age. Please contact me if you or anyone you know is interested in helping us with this.