By Swain Wodening
In the last several years many social media outlets have arisen on the internet. By far the biggest is Facebook, but there is also Tumblr, Twitter, and Google + amongst others. Social media is nothing new really despite the rise of the social network in the last ten years. There have been websites encouraging social interaction around on the internet as long as there has been an internet. In the early days it was newsgroups, chat rooms, mailing lists, and discussion boards. These all served Heathenry well. The old alt.religion.asatru newsgroup saw much activity with discussion much along the lines of Heathen Facebook Groups now in the late 90s. It was unfortunately unmoderated though and eventually fell victim to the nuisance posts of those wishing to silence it. Heathens were active in other ways on the internet. There were several Heathen discussion boards that arose during the late 90s and these saw some use. There was at least one mailing list that saw a great deal of activity. By far though what really made Heathenry explode on the web were two things. In 1994, Geocities was founded. The aim of Geocities was to provide free websites, but it also had discussion boards, chat rooms, and email. Other free website services followed such as Tripod in 1995 and Angelfire in 1996. Many Heathen kindreds and individuals made use of these services (some still do), and even one national organization started their website on Geocities. Then in 1997 two services for mailing lists were founded, Egroups and Onelist. While there had been Heathen mailing lists prior to these two services, the two services made it much easier to start and run a Heathen mailing list. In November of 1999, the two services merged, and in August of 2000 they were purchased by Yahoo to form Yahoo Groups. There are still many Heathen lists on Yahoo Groups and several of these are quite active. Blogging too has seen a Heathen presence. With such services as Livejournal and Blogger being started in 1999 many Heathens took to writing their thoughts and sharing them. Such services still see several Heathen blogs being published. Heathens therefore have been interacting on the internet for nearly as long as there has been an internet so the social aspect of social media is nothing new. What is new is perhaps the concentration of Heathens on a handful of social media sites.