I have started the INF506 elective at Charles Sturt University this semester.
If you know me online, you will know that I have a huge digital presence. My
history of engaging socially online started back in 1990. This is from the
perspective of someone in Melbourne Australia. If you were in American at this time AOL had
a greater presence.
Much to my parents dismay, I used to run a telephone line from my bedroom into my parents kitchen and then dial-up
using a modem to chat with people via a Melbourne based BBS - Fidonet. If you
were lucky you could connect with a BBS that allowed you to bounce out and find
other BBS’s around the world without having to dial overseas.
When I got dial up access to Melbourne Uni, I connected and then chatted via
IRC and also overseas BBS’s such as ISCA BBS. When the graphical user interface
(Windows) became more main stream ICQ appeared on the scene. The familiar “ah
ooh” when someone sent you a message was evidence of social chat becoming more
interactive. We started to use ICQ as a precursor to meeting up socially in real life.
I used this program via ozemail to connect with others on a Friday after work
to organise a night out. ICQ slowly slipped away as the dominant MSN made an
appearance. MSN was connected with Hotmail so you didn’t need a separate
account to maintain your social relationships. You could see who was online and
list yourself as busy (or not). With ICQ and IRC you could connect with random
users, but MSN was a bit more restrictive.
As Facebook became a more dominant force, MSN slowly slipped away. Now you
could connect with many users at once rather than small groups at a time. The
Facebook Groups feature overtook BBS’s or Forums as the main way of searching
and gaining information on a topic.
Now, many people connect using a variety of different tools. The connectability of the mediums allows you to push out information and connect in a variety of programs all at once.
I love this infographic, originally by creative ramblings, but luckily re-posted on mediabistro about the history of connecting online.