Those needs sped the adoption and development of online social life as we know it today.With #grindroutage 2016 over and done with, we can now go back to normal... Not only was it down for several hours, it also happened to be down on a Saturday of all days!Mark Elderkin happened to purchase in 1994 as a personal website, only to find that he attracted a huge audience of people looking for online information; by 1996, he had relaunched the site as a chat/dating service.
In the 1980s, the major online spaces outside of the proto-Internet were bulletin board systems, or BBSs: local or regional dial-up networks—often running on a single computer, or a handful of them—operated mostly by hobbyists and enthusiasts.
In 1984, hacker/skateboarder/anarchist/artist Tom Jennings created Fido Net, a homespun alternative to ARPANET that connected BBSs together—40,000 of them by the mid-1990s.
Interactions were limited by the sheer slowness of the network.
Typical BBSs offered all-text forum discussion, legal and illegal file sharing, and chat rooms, all at excruciatingly low bandwidth: 300, then 1,200, then 2,400 baud—for reference, 300 baud is roughly the speed of a fast typist.
Their online organizing anticipated the 1998 formation of progressive advocacy group Move On, which organized similar grass-roots campaigns around specific issues.
But the technological turning point came in the mid-’90s, when Internet access increasingly became part of American life outside of universities and corporations.Less computer-savvy people were no longer limited by the services provided by AOL but could participate on websites built by amateurs just by browsing to a URL.AOL tried to preserve its “walled garden” approach, enticing users to stay within its own network rather than enter the wilds of the Internet, but that inevitably failed because it could never keep up with the spontaneous, decentralized generation of content on the Net.The spread of Internet access enabled interservice communication across providers.Even if your provider didn’t support Usenet, you could still subscribe to mailing lists on email, such as “the mother of lesbian lists” Sappho, founded by Jean Marie Diaz in 1987.“My MOOs were always terribly queer, in part because I’d been frustrated on other MOOs,” she says.