BBS’s The First Online Social Networks

Sadly classmates.com is usually credited as the first online Social Network, yes that annoying web site where you can reconnect with people you don’t miss. It’s in the wiki so it must be correct right? Instead I would like to credit the BBS system as the first (all be it crude) online Social Network. While they quickly went the way of the Dodo bird when the new shiny Internet came on the scene the history and subculture of this medium is rich and worth noting. Maybe I’m biased though, after all I spent most of my childhood on BBS’s and these times are typically my fondest technology related memories. These systems were far from the "circle of friends" and heavily interactive web sites we have today but they still offered millions the ability forge new online relationships and connections. Alright, I really need to stop before I start sounding like that old guy who loves to talk about when computers were punch card based and the size of a warehouse.

So while doing some research for a personal project I came across this, BBS The Documentary an 8 episode mini series from Jason Scott (he runs www.textfiles.com, a huge depository for text files of the past) . He traveled for years interviewing the colorful cast of characters that made the BBS scene what it was including Vinton Cerf "The Father of the Internet". It’s on the way to my house now, I’m sure my wife will *LOVE* sitting through this one (I routinely bore her with crap like this). If you need me i’ll be watching the mailbox for the next few days. Order your copy today here.

Ratings: (on a scale of 1-5 hams)

  • 300 Baud Love
  • ANSI Missing
  • 0-Day
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9 Responses to BBS’s The First Online Social Networks

  1. LoLo says:

    Pimp & Evangelist Wars FTW! :P

    I was just thinking about pulling a bunch of old text files off of my P90. That site looks like it probably has everything I had at least twice over though. :-)

    /need to fix that link. You’ve got it going to teStfiles.com at the moment. ;-)

  2. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Also, yes the door games. Oh man the time I spent on that dang Lord of the Dragon game…

  4. Jason Scott says:

    Believe it or not, I’ve found that spouses can actually sit through it. The editing is intentionally zippy and it’s put together both heartwarmingly and comprehensively.

  5. Hey Jason! Thanks for finding this and adding a comment.

    I’m hoping she has the same response she had to “Pirates of Silicon Valley”. Her first comment was “Finnnne put it in”, only to be followed by “Wow, all that stuff really happened?” at the end.

  6. *Update

    Received and enjoyed every second of this documentary. Very well done.

  7. Another yummy part of textfiles.com is
    http://cd.textfiles.com/ Good place for pulling up all those old doors to run on your bbs like at
    telnet://eldritch.darktech.org

    ;)

    -Mindless Automaton

  8. Fearymype says:

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  9. Fearymype says:

    Ð?Ñ?ивеÑ?.
    Ð?Ñ?одаÑ? пеÑ?соналÑ?нÑ?й сеÑ?Ñ?иÑ?икаÑ? WebMoney за $99.

    Ð?ожеÑ?е пÑ?овеÑ?иÑ?Ñ?: WMID 322973398779 Redfern

    Ð?сÑ? Ñ?исÑ?о, не одной жалоб. Сделан на Ñ?Ñ?еÑ?яннÑ?е докÑ?менÑ?Ñ?. Ð?сÑ? законно.
    Ð?сли нÑ?жно, Ñ?о есÑ?Ñ? сеÑ?Ñ?иÑ?икаÑ?Ñ? еÑ?Ñ?.
    СÑ?Ñ?Ñ?аÑ?о в лиÑ?нÑ?Ñ? поÑ?Ñ?Ñ? на Ð?ебмани.

    ЭÑ?о не спам. Не пиÑ?иÑ?е на мой WMID жалобÑ? в аÑ?биÑ?Ñ?аж Ð?ебмани.