Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me!
I think everyone likes their birthday, but I particularly like the date of my birthday for the following three reasons.
1. It’s the same date as my aunt’s birthday.
That’s fun every year.
2. It’s on Petrov Day.
If you do not know about Petrov Day, please read the following pieces by Jai Dhyani, who writes more evocatively about the holiday than anyone I know.
3. It’s in the Eternal September.
Not only does my birthday fall on Petrov Day, it falls on the 10th anniversary
of Petrov day. September 1993 is a very special September because September 1993 is the Eternal September
These are the first 4 paragraphs of that linked Wikipedia page:
Eternal September or the September that never ended is Usenet slang for a period beginning in September 1993, the month that Internet service provider America Online began offering Usenet access to its many users, overwhelming the existing culture for online forums. The influx in Usenet users was also indirectly caused by the aggressive direct mailing campaign by AOL Chief Marketing Officer Jan Brandt in order to beat out CompuServe and Prodigy, which most notably involved distributing millions of floppy disks and CD-ROMs with free trials of AOL.
Before then, Usenet was largely restricted to colleges and universities. Every September, a large number of incoming freshmen would acquire access to Usenet for the first time, taking time to become accustomed to Usenet’s standards of conduct and “netiquette”. After a month or so, these new users would either learn to comply with the networks’ social norms or tire of using the service.
Whereas the regular September freshman influx would quickly settle down, the influx of new users from AOL did not end, and Usenet’s existing culture did not have the capacity to integrate the sheer number of new users following September 1993. Since then, the popularity of the Internet has brought on a constant stream of new users and thus, from the point of view of the pre-1993 Usenet users, the influx of new users in September 1993 never ended.
Dave Fischer coined the term in a January 1994 post to alt.folklore.computers: “It’s moot now. September 1993 will go down in net.history as the September that never ended.”
September 1993 is the earliest point in time at which persons online did not feel themselves beholden to the norms of a preexisting internet culture, simply because that culture was not strong enough to overpower the torrent of new memes. (meme here referring not only to captioned images, but to any unit of culture spreading online.) This effectively marked the dawn of the Age of Memes, a term I hope people start using unironically. From September 1993 onward, the internet became a place where ideas could grow and spread without the sufficiently strong culture to chaperone them that had theretofore existed.
The Internet facilitates communication between people who would not otherwise be able to communicate. Generally speaking, this is a good thing, but it also means that memes can fester on the internet that would not otherwise hold up to the memetic antibodies present in a smaller community with a more cohesive culture. Some examples of ideas that are wrong but which are held by sufficiently large groups of people who have managed to find each other online:
- I appear to be a teenage girl, but I am actually a wolf.
- I am better than other people because of my skin color.
- The earth is flat.
So my birthdate is very cool, falling on the tenth anniversary of the last time one guy saved the world in the midst of the birth of the internet as we know it. And so I’d like to invite anyone who shares my birthdate to join the online community I’m hoping to build around it. I like the idea that a community could form around every birthdate, because it is the characteristic of a person’s identity least correlated with region, ethnicity, status, etc. To the extent that all humans are born equal, no one is more your peer than those who were born on the same date as you, and we oughta look out for each other.
As the guy with the coolest birthdate around, I might as well be the one to start the trend. Even if I find only one other person, that will be amusing enough to have been worth the trouble.
If you know anyone else who was born on September 26 1993, please tell them to join our birthday team at /r/19930926
So if today is also your birthday, Happy Birthday!
And if today is not your birthday, Happy Petrov Day! You too have reason to celebrate.