Twitter circa 1990
August 28, 2013 9:35 AM   Subscribe

wwwtxt.org: "In 1995, commercialization, a swelling population, and the multimedia revolution began to shape Web 1.0 and the modern Internet. 1988–94 represent the final years of a much smaller, non-commercial, and text-dominated Internet. / The users of this era were not only programmers, physicists, and university residents—they were also tinkerers, early-adopters, whiz kids, and nerds. Their conversations and documents—valiantly preserved by digital archivists—are fractured across numerous services, increasingly offline-only, and incredibly voluminous (100GB+). / wwwtxt digs deep and resurrects the voices of these digital pioneers as unedited, compelling, and insightful 140-character excerpts."

The main scroll has tons of interesting excerpts... cyber-terrorism, fretting about Batman's casting, NSA paranoia, climate change denial, moral panic at the VMAs, complaining about the latest release of Star Wars - to name a few.

There are also image files from the era, available here. Pictures from magazine articles on virtual reality, early digital art, screenshots of a phreaking BBS.

This is the work of Daniel Rehn, also of: z/z/z: visualizing culture and ANI-GIF: animated .gif exhibition (warning, some fast flashing images).
posted by codacorolla (20 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
No attributions, no context makes this less than useful.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:41 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The users of that era were also 8-10 yr old girls whose mothers and fathers had computers with modems, and who could read the BBS adverts on the public access station and dial in to them for fun; we also knew to phone each other to plugin our modems so we could then connect computer-to-computer, send console messages for fun, then give up and call each other back because typing was too slow.

Out of the five of us who were using our computers like this at the time, I'm the only one still working in IT and who could conceivably be called a nerd - I think the average consumer computer user is pretty underrepresented in these retrospectives. People had computers for a reason! They wanted to use them! By 1985, you didn't have to be a programmer to do that!
posted by annathea at 9:50 AM on August 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


No attributions, no context makes this less than useful.
I completely agree. It would be really interesting to know where (or what usenet group) there were posted in. If nothing else it would give a bit of context to the discussion and allow an interesting window into past conversations.
posted by leo_r at 9:51 AM on August 28, 2013


"3 HyperCard stacks on Twin Peaks" is just a wonderful phrase.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:52 AM on August 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm glad there's no attribution because I don't want to be reminded of the stupid shit I posted on alt.music.nirvana back then, thankyouverymuch.

Also a thank you to Google for not including USENET in their default search corpus from those of us who found our voices awkwardly online.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:53 AM on August 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Space Coyote: OMG WE MUST HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:54 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


94 is significant for the start of the web, but 88?
posted by stbalbach at 9:58 AM on August 28, 2013


First commercial traffic perhaps (MCI Mail bridge)?

If you want this business in higher resolution (and/or old timers want to experience the horror of running into a mummified simulation of yourself) see telehack.
posted by ead at 10:09 AM on August 28, 2013


Funny thing about the title to this FPP - I get a regular dose of this through the wwwtxt Twitter account.
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I miss the internet.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:11 AM on August 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


A/S/L?
posted by bukvich at 10:16 AM on August 28, 2013


I had forgot all about "flames" and "flamers".

Why you flamin'?
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 10:28 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


George likes his chicken spicy. ☯95MAR
posted by griphus at 10:38 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some very interesting stuff in here:

The weird thing about economic warfare is that it is subtle. The effect of an attack on, say, Detroit takes years to become obvious. ☯94APR

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is like the old donkey who won't get out of the way. He needs a good push. ☯93JUN

Also:

If anyone is interested: there's a Japanese LaserDisc set with every episode of Twin Peaks. The box is $600—or $20/episode—not bad. ☯91NOV

Piracy technology is progressing. Anyway, just thought some of you cave dwellers would want to know. ☯92DEC
posted by ryanshepard at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2013


there's a Japanese LaserDisc set with every episode of Twin Peaks. The box is $600—or $20/episode—not bad. ☯91NOV

Suckers! If they had only waited twelve years they could've painstakingly sought out and slowly downloaded the SWESUB TV rips from Kazaa.

In the year 2000 I paid $40 for a Japanese-subtitled LaserDisc VHS rip of Eraserhead that also had some David Lynch short films on it.
posted by griphus at 11:23 AM on August 28, 2013


Needs approximately 85% more mentions of Aphex Twin.
posted by Spatch at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2013


Space Coyote: "Also a thank you to Google for not including USENET in their default search corpus from those of us who found our voices awkwardly online."

You do know about groups.google.com, right? I just found my alt.folklore.urban posts from '97 on there. It does seem to not go back as far as you might want, though, and I can't search for posts by me across the entire hierarchy, but still.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:54 PM on August 28, 2013


Luckily, all of my posts were constrained to the alt.binaries hierarchy, and have therefore not been permanently recorded.
posted by beerbajay at 10:55 PM on August 28, 2013


Also a thank you to Google for not including USENET in their default search corpus from those of us who found our voices awkwardly online.

I actually requested a couple things be deleted from their usenet archive because of this very thing. A young person desperately looking to explore areas that he didn't know were around might not be 'careful' with his choices. And when he made them, they were relatively private. Ugh. That guy.
posted by DigDoug at 7:57 AM on August 29, 2013


I would imagine that's probably the reason that the creator of this project opted not to directly cite the posts in question, especially as he tends to pick out the juicier bits of discussion.
posted by codacorolla at 9:53 AM on August 29, 2013


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