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Kurt Weiske's other blog.

Retro tech enthusiast, photgrapher, and systems guy.

Blogging like it's 1999. Static blog generation, talking tech...

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Fri, 26 Apr 2024

Dialed In

I went to a presentation at the Computer History Museum called Dialed-in: The Prehistory of Social Media.

The event was a discussion with Kevin Driscoll, author of "The Modem world: a Prehistory of Social Media", and danah boyd, author of "It's Complicated".

The event talked a bit about the history of BBSes and contrasted current social networks with the local communities that sprouted up around BBSing.

To me, in a nutshell, BBSing was an exclusive group - not many people had computers, and the onus was on a caller or sysop to buy a modem, get a phone line (or share a line and risk the hazards of doing so...), find terminal software and build a BBS list.

The panel could have been an open discussion - I'm sure many of the people in the crowd were sysops at one time, or even current sysops. Thankfully, they dodged a bullet by avoiding the sys-op/sise-op wars of the 1990s.

I went with 3 sysops/friends of mine from the golden-age of BBSing. Taipan Enigma and Dr. Strangelove started NIRVANAnet(tm), and Zardoz and I were some of the first sysops to join the nascent network. We joked that the panelists missed out on the culture that they were observing.

It was good seeing people I'd spent the 90s conversing with, both online and in person at the user meetups we'd arrange. The idea of going out for beers afterwards was suggested, but I had an hour drive, early work days ahead, babysitters to let go, and so on. Quite unlike the old days when a couple of nights out ended up with staying up all night, posting on BBSes, greasy-spoon diner breakfasts, and going home to nurse a hangover.

posted at: 11:03 | path: | permanent link to this entry