By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Stacy Horn (right) founded the online community Echo in 1989 as New York's answer to California's pioneering Well. She opened it to the public in 1990, when the digital revolution was in its infancy. Echo now is a tight group of about 500, many of them writers and artists, who, Horn says, "talk about work, love, what MP3s they're downloading, and what's on TV."
Echo members have established passionate bonds, both platonic and conjugal. The first Echo baby is now 11, and a couple more were born a few weeks ago. I joined Echo (echonyc.com) in 1993.
We asked Echoids about their New Year's resolutionsespecially those involving exercise, relationships, personal pampering, and other activities that require interfacing with the "wet" world.
On Echo since 1989. I was the first! I started Echo because the company I was working for moved to Virginia and I had to find something else to do. I didn't know it would completely change everything in my life. I love Echo, and I want it to stay around as long as I live because I want to be part of it. It's still my home base.
Your New Year's resolutions for 2004:Eat fruit and something green every day. Talk to at least one stranger every day. Forget about that guy who dumped me.
Did you follow them?Yes to the first and third one. I talk to strangers only sporadically. It's almost always worthwhile, though.
What were your results?I'm not dead from cancer yet.
Resolutions for 2005:I used to walk miles every day, and last year I became more sedentary. So this year I am going to walk a lot again, and talk to more strangers along the way.
BENEDICT DOESN'T STAND UP FOR CHRISTMAS
On Echo since 1995. It was a nice portal into the non-high-school world for an alienated teenager. I'm no longer quite so alienated, nor nearly so teenage, but Echo is still a good place to exchange news of the world and of culture, to keep up with a wide circle of colorful acquaintances, and to keep in touch with a few close friends.
Your New Year's resolutions for 2004:I did not make any. I find that I am able to take on tough tasks when I am ready, and no sooner.
Results?I spent a fourth year with my beautiful and learned girlfriend, Suzanne, who this year realized her long-standing dream of entering a Ph.D. program in comparative literature. I took up photography, and have made prints that now hang in my apartment and those of a few family members. I began the parallel processes of selling my apartment and buying a new one (I desire less street noise, and Suzanne passionately desires more living space). I traveled to Florida and Ohio in efforts to elect John Kerry for president. I got my first haircut in 11 years.
Resolutions for 2005:I would like to sell some of my prints. (If there is a wall in your apartment or your office that needs a little something, perhaps we can talk.) I will have to move, and of course that is a lot of work. I will embark on my fifth year working at Panix, which is far longer than I've ever worked anywhere before.
It will also be my fifth year with Suzanne, during which I will help her stay sane as she balances part-time work, teaching responsibilities, and her own classwork. I may occasionally have to remind her to help me with my own sanity needs.
I'm long overdue to give my little brother a visit at college.
You can call these resolutions if you like, but that's not how I think about them. It's just what's coming up on the agenda. If I were going to make a resolution, it would be to get some exercise already.
GEORGINA'S GOT THE GOODS [Anna Lank]
On Echo since 1998. It meant a community I could access at 2 a.m. when rocking a newborn, parents that weren't just parents but interesting humans as well. I was looking for the information and support. Have gotten all that and more. Way more.
Your New Year's resolutions for 2004:(1) Be kinder to my kids, i.e., be a more patient mom. Pray for guidance, as it were. (2) Find meaningful work.
Did you follow them?Mostly.
Results?(1) I'm better than I was. It helps to have made a conscious decision to do this. (2) Jackpot. Love what I am doing (I recruit, train, evaluate, and otherwise organize actors and laypeople to portray patients for medical students and foreign medical professionals, who must pass clinical competency exams in order to get their licenses to practice medicine. (See c3ny.org.)
Resolutions for 2005:Solve the weight/exercise/food thing. Took some strides in the past year toward thislost 20 pounds (Atkins- based), Pilates classes . . . but now have to fit it all in with work and parenting. Ask me again in '06.
On Echo since 1995. I saw an ad in BOMB. I got the (ultimately correct) impression that Echo was the place for interesting, individualist, funny, smart, creative types.