Fantastic article. Wow, brought me back. BBS’s, Warez, yow.
I think there’s definitely a paper in this, a study.
On BBS’s, you had the TOP POSTERS and if you did door games, you wanted to make it onto the high score tables, very similar to arcades.
Oooooh! Arcades! An interesting mix of computer mediated and meatspace (yes, I used that word, but no other word is better I s’pose) is the local arcade in the 1980’s.
You’d work to get the high score. I was the mysterious KEN on a goofy Road Runner game in 1987 (one of the much later games). When I’d come in, those who were affeciados of the game would go, “Hey, that’s KEN”.
It’s a small thing, but I still remember it.
It was an interesting time, the time of the arcades. They’re still around but we live in a “SAFER” time where you don’t have to worry about weirdos hanging out at the local arcade (where the local cops could theoretically keep an eye on them) but rather weirdos hanging out on MySpace, where NOBODY (well, nobody really) is watching.
“Ah, my kid is safe here at home, not like the arcades when we were kids and the neighborhood guy with the funny face and the 15 dogs and the motorcycle would hang out. While i’m at it, I’ll put the computer in his/her room so he/she has some privacy”.
Usenet STILL hasn’t been beat for networking people who like to think. There are thousands (millions? Hard to say) of “forums” online. But they’re not NETWORKED. The forums don’t talk to one another. It’s irritating to have these closed-wall forums that don’t talk to other forums. On Usenet, the newsgroups all talked to one another and a message you send could be propagated to thousands of machines around the world in minutes or hours, yet each operator of the Usenet groups could decide which groups its site would get and furthermore, you yourself could easily decide which ones you wanted to look at, customizing the experience.
Anyhow, getting yourself listed in a FAQ makes you “somebody”. When my list of Deskmate programs got put into a comp.sys.tandy FAQ I was thrilled and became a “tandy guy”. Of course I was following a dead technology but that’s what makes it all the more interesting.
Thanks for the ramble! Caio!
Kenneth Udut P.S. – if you want to see a retro Gopher-style website, see http://retro.naplesplus.us to bring you back. I just put it up yesterday and I think you’ll get a kick out of it. No social interaction there though, nor status.