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24 Years of Virtual Connections


"We're helping you grow your audience because profiles like yours bring people together." - Facebook Inc. 😊

I was surprised to see this message from Facebook last night. I am truly thankful for this!

It's been exactly 24 years, which amounts to 8760 days, that I've been present on social media, predating popular sites such as Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. I was active even before MySpace launched in 2003.

Discovering vietmedia website on Thanksgiving in 1999 changed my life forever! In the early days of the internet, there were no apps. To write something, one needed a computer to log in to the website. There was no function for adding pictures or videos to posts. I recall having only one tiny profile picture that my virtual friends saw. Initially, I read others' posts, and then I started posting and commenting on theirs. Over time, I felt a deep connection, as if I'd found my second home. For five continuous years, not a day went by without me posting something. It was purely to stay connected and to derive a sense of purpose, knowing that my writing brought peace, joy, and connections to others.

After five years, vietnedia website ceased operations. Suddenly, I lost all my virtual friends, whom I felt even closer to than my own family. It was a significant shock and took me months to overcome. Subsequently, I joined Vietbao forums for about five years, writing exclusively in Vietnamese on these two sites. Later, I found another online home here. Around 2011, I joined their writer's club called Vietbut. Today, we'll have a potluck with Vietnamese writers from across the United States. Tomorrow will host a ceremony for the winners of writer contests.

In 2012, a friend introduced me to Facebook. Unfortunately, I lost that account after two years by clicking on a link sent by a scammer. Since 2014, I've had another account and have virtual friends on Facebook for a decade now.

My presence on social media is as old as my son, Charlie. My sole purpose is to foster human connection, share interesting posts, and uplift others. At times, I've had conflicting thoughts. While I desired to reach larger audiences for potential monetary rewards, I didn't want to be widely recognized. I find joy in remaining unknown in public—I cherish my freedoms! Hence, I didn't exert all efforts into making my YouTube videos better than homemade ones.

Sometimes, what you desire and what destiny has in store aren't aligned. I'm happy and grateful to be recognized as a great asset to others. The greatest blessing for any writer or content creator is reaching a large audience. With the support of Facebook Inc., the sky's the limit. Thank you! ♥️

Crystal H. Vo

November 25, 2023

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