ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL PART TWO: Soap stars dish their Internet secrets
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2015 6:42:43 PM
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In celebration of soapcentral.com's 20th birthday, we've gone straight to the stars to get their take on the very best the Internet has to offer (outside of soapcentral.com, of course).

SPECIAL PODCAST: Listen to our star-studded celebration of soapcentral.com with stars of AMC, ATWT, B&B, DAYS, GH, OLTL, and Y&R

Forget about evil twins, plastic surgery, paternity switch ups, and stolen embryos. The real drama in the soap opera world revolves around the Internet. Just ask The Young and the Restless' David Chow (Vincent Irizarry), who tapped into the World Wide Web to expose Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) as the star of the porn flick Hot Hips. Or The Bold and the Beautiful's Hope (Kim Matula), who used it to order pills that later caused her to crash into Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) on a ski slope. You could even ask Days of our Lives' Will (Guy Wilson), who used the Internet to deactivate E.J.'s (James Scott) ankle monitor so the DiMera hottie could go on the run. Or even General Hospital's Luke (Anthony Geary), who used it to stop Stefan (Stephen Nichols) from ruining the world's financial system with a destructive computer virus.

Yes, the Internet has played a large part in the history of soap operas, so it's no wonder that soapcentral.com has used the World Wide Web, as well. After all, we're obsessed with soap operas. Why else would we have brought you daily recaps, scoops, and news for the past 20 years? For your benefit? Ha! [Insert evil Victor Newman laugh here.] Okay, just kidding. It really has been for your benefit. And we've enjoyed sharing all these goodies with you every single day since the site first launched in 1995.

Speaking of 1995, not only was it soapcentral.com's birth year, it happens to also be the very same year the Internet was brought to the public. Obviously, that means soapcentral.com was the very first site that most people in the soap opera community visited (right?), but what are some of the other websites that first caught daytime actors' eyes? And are there apps or sites that the talented performers of B&B, DAYS, GH, and Y&R can't live without today? Read on to find out, and be sure to also check out the answers to the very same questions by soapcentral.com's charming and ingenious founder, Dan J. Kroll.

QUESTION: What was the first website that you visited or that caught your attention?
Dan J Kroll (soapcentral.com Founder)
"I think I pre-date the Internet. I used to joke that I was there when Al Gore invented the Internet. The first service that caught my attention was an Internet service called Prodigy. I don't even know how to begin to describe it -- it was like the Internet, but it was contained all within the Prodigy service. I remember when they announced that they were 'connecting' the Prodigy out to the Internet. You were allotted so many Internet minutes per month with your subscription fee. I am sure that is a foreign concept to the kids out there. I won't even talk about dial-up Internet because heads might explode!"

Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera, Days of our Lives)
"I can't remember, because I didn't use computers a lot back then. It was back in that generation where you spent time [outside]. I'd be out from sunup to sundown. I wasn't really much into computers. I remember being happy as a kid, riding bikes with my friends. I spent a lot of time with my great-grandparents who I was really close with. It's really weird that kids these days would rather play a baseball video game than play baseball. It doesn't make any sense!"

Kassie DePaiva (Eve Donovan, DAYS)
"I remember when we would go on to ABC.com and do chats, in chat rooms. And the actors would go on, and of course, you had the haters, too. Now it's termed, but I remember you'd make a comment, and then you would get called up to the office, and they said, 'No, you can't make a comment about that kind of thing!' It was so instant. But ABC was one of the first to do it. I think Gary Warner was a part of that... and ABC really had a nice little website that was really interactive, and then it, well, I think they were afraid that things were going to get leaked, so they pulled back a little bit."

Mishael Morgan (Hilary Curtis, The Young and the Restless)
"I just remember the little running man for AOL and the dial-up noise. That's all I remember."

Christopher Sean (Paul Narita, DAYS)
"I remember for me, it was video games, getting online and playing online video games. Mindcraft and Red Alert were big ones back then."

Jen Lilley (Theresa Donovan, DAYS)
"I remember thinking AOL chat rooms were the coolest thing ever, haha. And I remember my first email address: It was Jen4Jesus84@aol.com."

True O'Brien (Paige Donovan, DAYS)
"More than websites, I think just email, and that was a huge thing for me. That's why I'd get on the computer, to email and to instant message."

Tracey Melchior (Kristen Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful)
"I don't remember a specific website, but I remember the first time I got an email address, so that was probably it."

Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton, DAYS)
"I am not good at that kind of thing, going online, so [I finally did it] on the heels of [the publicity department for the show] helping me. This might not be a great answer, but I just like to pick up the phone and talk to somebody, or I like to write them a letter. I know it's easy to [contact people via the Internet], but there's something about hearing a person's voice. I like to hear their voice, and I can tell from how they say hello what kind of a day they're having. I just miss that. I miss that, and I'm going to drag kicking and screaming into the rest of my life [in an attempt to stay off the Internet], because I really like that. I might get on my phone and text someone, but I really don't go online."

Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker, DAYS)
"I must have bought a computer, and it must have been email. Yahoo! email was my first account."

Shawn Christian (Daniel Jonas, DAYS)
"No, I have no idea. It was probably only a year ago that I started checking out websites. I remember the days when we had carrier pigeons, and that's how we got out text messages out. I had an adverse reaction to computers, because I studied Computer Information Systems, which is mainframe programming, at one point in my life. It was so not me, and I realized really quickly that I'm just not that introverted. This was binary coding, and I knew I wanted to be an architect and they had machines that were computer aided designs, and so I thought, 'Well, I better learn computers.' But programming? It was awful. It was just not for me, so I thought, 'I don't need computers.'"

Cady McClain (Kelly Andrews, Y&R)
"I think I first started using it as a search engine, looking up stuff and being so amazed that I could look stuff up. Oh, and emailing people. I think it was AOL might have been the first site I visited, because you could also get a little bit of news there, and everybody had an AOL email."

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson, Y&R)
"I remember when I first started using a computer, but I didn't have the Internet until I started college. We had computers to write papers on in my house, but we didn't have Internet. And my dad worked for the phone company, and we didn't even have call waiting! I was like, 'Why don't we have call waiting? You work for the phone company!' But anyway, I didn't have Internet until I was a freshman in college, which was 1999. So I'd say it was probably www.unc.edu. I went to UNC Chapel Hill, so it was their homepage website. So I logged in and created my email address."

Meredith Scott Lynn (Anne Milbauer, DAYS)
"The first website that I ever visited in all honesty was probably aol.com. SisterCurl@aol.com was my first Internet name, and it was the same for like 25 years or something."

Eric Martsolf (Brady Black, DAYS)
"That's a tough one for me. I don't think it was a particular website. It was email. I could not believe that there was a person in Pennsylvania that just received a message from me through my computer. It was just unbelievable. And then she sent me something back within two minutes. It was just incredible."

Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher, Y&R)
"I did have a Hotmail account, but didn't we all? Internet wasn't something I discovered until college, so it was probably whatever the first search engine was."

Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin, Y&R)
"Oh, I'm sure I was on soapcentral.com. I'm sure. And also AOL."

Scott Elrod (Joe Clark, Y&R)
"It was probably AOL. 'You've got mail!'"

Lachlan Buchanan (Kyle Abbott, Y&R)
"This would have been in primary school, so I want to say Yahoo!, maybe? We were being taught how to use the Internet back then."

Melissa Ordway (Abby Newman, Y&R)
"I remember I had AOL chat, and I used to visit the chat rooms. We thought it was so cool, my friends and I, because you could talk to people in other places. So we would joke around and pretend we were 20 years old, but we were really twelve."

Peter Bergman (Jack Newman, Y&R)
"Wow, am I the wrong person to ask that [laughs]. I think my kids set up an AOL account for me."

QUESTION: Is there an app or a website -- besides soapcentral.com -- that you can't live without today?
Dan J Kroll (soapcentral.com Founder)
"I am a big fan of Hootsuite, it lets you have all of your social media accounts in one place. It is a huge timesaver when it comes to promoting content that has been posted on the soapcentral.com site. In the non-work area, I think my love of music is pretty well documented, so my two must-have apps are not surprisingly related to music. The first is Shazam, which lets you identify songs just by holding your phone up to a music source. It is so much easier than the old days of Googling lyrics and hoping the lyrics you remembered were enough to find the song that you were looking for. The second is my SiriusXM app. I haven't met a music countdown show that I haven't loved, so my weekends and Twitter timeline are chock full of the 70s with Casey Kasem, the 80s with the original MTV VJs, and the 90s with Downtown Julie Brown."

Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera, Days of our Lives)
"I think I'd prefer to live without social media, however, I can't, based on my job. But in answer to the question, no, I don't think there's a site I couldn't live without. I think I could live without the Internet if I had to. I can't think of an app or a site that I look at every day. I mean, it would be different, but I could live without it. Though I do enjoy keeping up with fans and stuff, the very few that I have."

Mishael Morgan (Hilary Curtis, The Young and the Restless)
"Today it's Uber and I guess my online banking site. I'm Canadian, and I'm here in the States, and online banking is so amazing, because I can take care of everything all around the world. So as nerdy as that sounds, it's an online banking website that I can't live without."

Meredith Scott Lynn (Anne Milbauer, DAYS)
"There's no website I don't think I could live without, but with a gun to my head and I have to pick an answer, I'd say Facebook. The truth is, I love Facebook. I feel like when I post, and when I look to see other people's posts, it's a very personal experience with people that we're technically really connected to, but don't have time to connect to. So I think it's kind of brilliant. I love Facebook. And I'm not on it a lot, but I love it."

Jen Lilley (Theresa Donovan, DAYS)
"I think we can all live without the Internet, but I am quite smitten with Pinterest, Twitter (@jen_lilley), and Soap Central."

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson, Y&R)
"Well, Facebook and Twitter are my most common. I love connecting with the fans on Twitter and hearing their feedback or posting a photo I think they'll get a kick out of and posting my juicy Hollywood gossip or my serious CNN news. But probably [outside of those], I go to Free People's website a lot, because I love that store. And then I go to my Bank of America website to see if I've used all my money on my Free People website!"

Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker, DAYS)
"I would probably say I can't live without Google. I Google everything. That, IMDb, and there's this cute little website, because I have a kid, Nick Jr. for Dora the Explorer and Little Passports. I don't shop a lot online, which I should, but I don't. And of course Arrow-Heart.com."

Kassie DePaiva (Eve Donovan, DAYS)
"I don't really go on the Web that much, so maybe my bank? [laughs]"

Tracey Melchior (Kristen Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful)
"I do check The Weather Channel quite a bit. That's not very interesting, I know. But I ride horses, and I have to plan with the weather to see when it's going to rain and which days I'll plan to go to the ranch. So I think The Weather Channel is the one I visit most frequent -- if you don't count Twitter and Facebook, of course."

Shawn Christian (Daniel Jonas, DAYS)
"No, I don't go to anything. I use writing software a lot though. I just don't go online a lot, except to do research. But there's nothing I go back to a lot."

Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton, DAYS)
"No, not at all. I admire people that are on and have these tremendous followings, and good for them. But there's not a site that I couldn't live without."

Eric Martsolf (Brady Black, DAYS)
"I'm actually very happy that the iPhone was born and iCloud is around because iCalendar has been our savior. [My wife and I] put date night in the calendar, and there's no denying that it's there. It's not an app, it's standard on the iPhone, but before that thing, I don't know how people made plans and remembered them."

True O'Brien (Paige Donovan, DAYS)
"Does Netflix count? I think that's technically a website, and I think the fact that websites exist that you can watch shows on and movies on, that's pretty cool."

Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher, Y&R)
"Huffington Post, where I go for my news, and where I've also been a contributor. I've written a couple of pieces for Huff Post. And I also do a lot of shopping on Amazon, so I'd say those two are my favorites."

Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin, Y&R)
"All my social media sites, so Twitter, Facebook. And I also go to BBC News."

Scott Elrod (Joe Clark, Y&R)
"Google. It's a wealth of knowledge and for whatever I need, whether it's a certain kind of toothpaste or parts for something, I mean, it's Google. You can find everything."

Lachlan Buchanan (Kyle Abbott, Y&R)
"Oh, my gosh, there are a few websites. First, Facebook -- don't judge me! And I love Instagram. I think it's brilliant. I also love Buzz Feed. I get stuck looking at their lists all day."

Melissa Ordway (Abby Newman, Y&R)
"I would say probably Facebook, just because I connect a lot with the people back in my hometown."

Peter Bergman (Jack Newman, Y&R)
"Definitely the New York Times."

CONTINUE READING In part one of our special anniversary feature, soap stars reveal where they were and what they were doing in 1995...

What was the first website you recall ever visiting? Is there a website you can't live without today? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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