I’ve been using social media since I was 15. (MySpace, anyone?) Before I started college, you still needed a valid college e-mail address to sign up for Facebook. I hopped on board in the spring of 2006 during my senior year of high school—as soon as I got that .edu golden ticket.
A note to younger millennials and Gen Zers: Back then, we had to walk uphill in the snow—both ways—to sign in to Facebook on our dorm room laptops.
It wasn’t long before Facebook opened its doors to everyone, and my college friends panicked about how they’d hide their debauchery from Aunt Mary and Grandpa Joe. We couldn’t even begin to comprehend that we might one day be panicking about the use of the platform to disrupt American democracy.
I’ve always been an early and eager adopter of new social media platforms. I joined Twitter in 2009 and Instagram in 2011. I even dabbled in Vine for a brief period (R.I.P.). It took me a while to get Snapchat, but by 2014 I couldn’t deny the allure of sending obnoxious photos to my friends that would disappear in 10 seconds or less.