“Do you remember what it felt like for a relative stranger to be like: ‘I see you’? It felt like cartwheeling down a moving walkway, going with the flow and yet still sticking the landing.But developing a sexual identity was as difficult as choosing a screen name.
“It was pleasurable to meet new people and learn that you were ‘attractive’ somehow,” Katz recalls.Today, such requests seem tame compared to the sort of sexual coercion marking Harvey Weinstein and other sexual harassers.Exploiting yourself on the quest for attention was one risk with AIM.“Teens used the service to flirt through text, engaging in a form of written flirtation that looked a lot more like letter-writing practices decades before,” says Danah Boyd, author of “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.” That written flirtation allowed young women to construct their identities as carefully as their away messages. But online, my friends and I who fashioned ourselves as budding intellectuals who didn’t need to always talk like characters in a Woody Allen movie.We planned Halloween costumes and epic homecoming sleepovers.
Today, we might not need to be secretive about learning how to have phone sex.