Online Resolutions

Echo, New York's legendary computer bulletin board, shares its goals for 2005

Then, of course, there are the little ones: Eat more fruit, moisturize, and put the toilet paper on the holder, not the bathroom counter.


On Echo since 1991. It's an addiction less life-threatening than, say, crack.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: With success rates: Finish my novel—73 percent; lose 50 pounds—21 percent; be nicer—12.5 percent; make more money— -8 percent.

Resolutions for 2005: Finish my novel, lose 50 pounds, be nicer, make more money.

MOP [Anne Sussman]

On Echo since 1998. On a first and last date, a guy from Swoon (before Nerve, there was Swoon) told me about an online discussion board. It sounded incredibly nerdy, as all online discussion groups did, and vaguely cultish. But he was cute, so I listened. He gave me a copy of Stacy Horn's Cyberville and urged me to read it. The next day, I got a very well-written kiss-off e-mail that was maybe 20 percent kissing off, and 80 percent shilling for Echo. He said three times how much I'd "flourish" there. So, I joined. And fell in love. With various men (with whom things invariably didn't work out), but more important, with Echo, which is like a member of my family. I love it, I hate it, I take breaks from it, but I always come back.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: Get a job. Get a boyfriend. Get sane.

Did you follow them? In a 33 percent kinda way.

Results? I got a job. I've been on various dates. Oh, and sanity? C'mon. You didn't really expect that to have panned out.

Resolutions for 2005: To write more. To be more social. To allow myself to spend more money than I am comfortable with in order to improve my quality of life. To get a boyfriend. To get sane. Scratch that. To get a sane boyfriend.

APPARATUS [Jack Taylor]

On Echo since 1991 or '92. A friend in Colorado joined the Well and ballyhooed its value as an alternative information source and community. I couldn't afford the long-distance charges to San Francisco. My friend said I should check out Echo.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: My resolutions for 2004 were girthy, zaftig, and filled with the chewy nougat of aspiration: completing three large oil paintings a week; writing three books in six months; learning to fix the plumbing in my house; learning to eat fire; learning to ward off the Evil Eye; learning the name and location of my future wife; remaining in San Diego; and ensuring the supremacy of butter over guns for future generations.

Did you follow them? I'm a better planner than executor.

Results? I completed 10 small oils and one book in 12 months, hired a contractor to put in plumbing, burned my lips on a flaming shot of sambuca, and have moved to Los Feliz, where I live a block away from Jumbo's Clown Room.

Resolutions for 2005: I plan to avenge butter.


On Echo since 1999. I joined Echo—which I kept hearing about in my graduate research into online communities—before I moved to New York, in an attempt to make some connections. My attachment is no longer obsessive, but Echo is still the place I go to talk about the things that are most important to me. And on 9-11 I realized, as did many Echoids, that an online space can be the emotional foundation of a life-changing, if harrowing, experience.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: To be honest with myself.

Did you follow it? I tried.

Results? By being brutally honest about my physical condition and my long avoidance of exercise, I was able to short-circuit my well-practiced methods for avoiding getting in shape. I just shut my own mouth and went to the gym. Twenty pounds and a pair of great legs later, I get to practice my newfound honesty by admiring myself in the mirror and liking what I see.

Resolutions for 2005: (1) Compete in my first ballroom dancing competition with my new partner. (2) Make a profit from the amateur catering I do. (3) Belly fat: the final frontier.


On Echo since 1994. A friend called and said, Hey, you have e-mail, right? Did you know you can talk to more than one person at a time? And that they can all be artsy and cool? I joined and was thoroughly intimidated for the first six months. Then I plunged in, and have never left. No other online experience (and few offline) has come close to Echo for revealing the soul, brains, humor, and compassion of real people. They are the major source of procrastination in my life. I trust them thoroughly. These days I often Echo from my Treo while walking down the street, which is starting to scare me.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: (1) Don't work so hard. (2) Remain calm. (3) Go on some dates. (4) Maybe even meet a nice guy. (5) Try to do a little good in the world.

Did you follow them? I tried, but I was usually working too hard.

Results? In the fall I started to do better with items 3 and 5, and have slowly begun to make inroads on 2.

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