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Social Networks never change (1980s video)


Compuserve started in 1969. The WELL in the early ’80s. I didn’t really get into social networks and online communities until the late ’80’s. Certainly, not creating content, editing and commenting on content and making friends and so on, until I got hooked on Usenet newsgroups in 1988 – 20 years ago. Here’s a youthful Howard Rheingold guiding us down memory lane of social networks online. Note how in the ’80s they used online networks to a) get jobs b) do dating c) replacement for boring tv d) create real life social networks e) event management online and offline f) rituals of birthday and whatnot … everything really, no?

My thing was Twin Peaks on Usenet Newsgroups, and creating/uploading/sharing/downloading little games on group FTP servers.

What was the game on an Apple Mac applelink network that was a black ball and a white ball and you had to play collaboratively? Like help each other hit switches and not fall off cracked tiles? It was open source and downloadable from a number of Apple online communities?

I’m not sure what is new – ease of use, complexity of media, distributed discussions, tagging and folksonomy to organise the information. But the basics are the same, right?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

3 thoughts on “Social Networks never change (1980s video)

  1. I wasn’t around the internet until late 90s but from what I read in your post, the similarities are striking.
    The changes (besides what you mentioned) seem to be rich media, and wider reach.

  2. Sort of like MazeWars Tim, but glossier. Really beautiful graphics but I don’t remember it being “avatar”-ish except that you moved the ball. Not sure it was FPS or user POV either. Just rolling a ball along and keeping it on the track – if it fell off, it fell through space and you died 🙁

    @sachendra aye in some ways *thinks a lot* I don’t watch many videos online. I mostly read blogs, so not particularly rich for me, though I agree, richer in general. I don’t download games as much as I used to – my hard drive (20mb rodime) used to fill up with crap from an FTP server that I tried. Card games, and puzzles and whatnot. Wider reach today – sure, more users. But usually we are performing for only a few – our social network, so wider reach in general, not specifically. Aye lots to think about 🙂

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