Who’s Jespah?

This is the story of my standard user name, jespah. It all began as quirkily as anything else in my life.

Chatting Online

History of Online Community Panel 1

History of Online Community Panel 1 (Photo credit: Choconancy1)

Born Free was one of many favored books when I was a little girl. Elsa was a rescued lioness. The best name was, by far, Jespah. Jespah was the eldest of Elsa’s cubs (and male, by the way), but the name was close enough to my own so when it was time to start thinking of a user name online, it was natural to select Jespah. It was in 1997, and Princess Diana had just been killed. We had a fairly new computer with Internet access. I don’t know what possessed me — I just felt the need to talk to someone about Princess Diana, someone I hadn’t even been a particular fan of before. Perhaps it’s because her death, at the time, was so shocking.



MIRC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found mirc, a chat client. There wasn’t anyone to specifically discuss the matter with, but there were people to talk to. And so a love affair with social media and online communities began.


By 2000, I wanted a more challenging group of conversationalists. The Presidential election was so close and so interesting that I wanted to talk to someone about it. It was the same feeling as in 1997 — I just wanted to have a conversation. I found Abuzz, which was owned and operated by The New York Times and The Boston Globe (the Globe is important to me because I live in Boston). Here were intelligent people who were just as fascinated by the extremely close election! It was exciting.

English: The New York Times building in New Yo...

English: The New York Times building in New York, NY across from the Port Authority. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abuzz’s finest hour was just after 9/11, as members spent time keeping everyone up to date on what was happening. There was a while there where my main source of news about the rescue efforts came through Abuzz and nowhere else. I made friends, and met people offline. People would call me by my user name, even in person. I didn’t mind this, and answered right back.




In 2002, Abuzz was losing steam and my friend Robert Gentel contacted me. He told me he wanted to teach himself PHP and create a forums website, but that he didn’t want to manage the community. Would I do that? Would I become the Community Manager? Of course. And so Able2Know was born. I’ve been helping manage it ever since.

More Social Sites

In 2008, when I joined SparkPeople, it was obvious to me that my user name would be Jespah. But when I joined Twitter, the jespah user name was already taken.


online_communities (Photo credit: .mw)

Hence I became @shrinkingjes. This also made sense to me as I’d already lost over 100 pounds by the time I joined Twitter. But there’s no ‘s’ at the end of @shrinkingjes.

Recently, I’ve gotten back into writing fiction and, yes, I use jespah as my alias that way. I have a second Twitter account for Star Trek fanfiction and general writing, @jespahtrekfanfi.

I’m not the only jespah out there, and not just on Twitter. There are other jespahs out there, but I’m the one on Able2know, SparkPeopleAd Astra, Trek United, Digg, and Redditt, among other places. If you see the name jespah online, I’d say the chances of it being me are maybe 50 – 65%. But sometimes it’s a pet’s name.

Jespah on Daddy's Helmet

If you happen to come across any fiction written by jespah, it’s probably mine as well.

What’s the future of jespah? Same as the rest of my future. I’ll probably always keep it or try to keep it as a user name. I just like it; it’s a part of me now. And yes, if you call me jes or jespah or jespie, I promise that I really will answer.