Before entering Imagi Nation you’d use the Face Maker to create your appearance choosing your skin color, facial features, glasses, clothes, and hairstyle.There were enough variables built in to create over 84 million unique personas.Long before it became the commercialized mass information and entertainment juggernaut it is today, long before it was accessible to the general public, and certainly many years before Al Gore claimed he “took the initiative in creating” it, the Internet – and its predecessors – were a focal point for social interactivity.
The author’s current fancy guppies I got my first online job when I was 12.
I wrote my first national magazine cover story when I was 13.
You've got other things to do—after all, a new episode of We all know that the Internet has changed radically since the '90s, but there's something dizzying about going back to look at how people spent their time 13 years ago.
Sifting through old Web pages today is a bit like playing video games from the 1970s; the fun is in considering how awesome people thought they were, despite all that was missing.
Accessed over telephone lines via a modem, BBSes were often run by hobbyists who carefully nurtured the social aspects and interest-specific nature of their projects – which, more often than not in those early days of computers, was technology-related.
Moreover, long distance calling rates usually applied for out-of-towners, so many Bulletin Boards were locals-only affairs that in turn spurred local in-person gatherings.
Then you load up Internet Explorer, AOL's default Web browser. There's no You Tube, Digg, Huffington Post, or Gawker.
There's no Google, Twitter, Facebook, or Wikipedia.
And voila, just like that, suddenly the antisocial had become social. Though the technology of the time restricted the flexibility of these systems, and the end-user’s experience, to text-only exchanges of data that crawled along at glacial speed, BBSes continued to gain popularity throughout the ‘80s and well into the ‘90s, when the Internet truly kicked into gear.