[NetBehaviour] R.I.P Usenet: 1980-2008.
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Fri Aug 1 11:39:34 CEST 2008
R.I.P Usenet: 1980-2008.
Child-porn investigations have doomed one of the last remnants of a
smaller, kinder Net.
by Sascha Segan.
Before the Eternal September, but after the Great Renaming, I learned
about sex on Usenet. A few years later, on a Mac SE in a college
basement, I met friends I still have today. We "spewed" about our
teenage lives in ways that would be familiar to any MySpace blogger
circa 2008, but that were radical, strange, and comforting in 1993. We
made faraway friends, burned yearbooks to CDs and mailed them to Finland
with way too many stamps. We were the first Net kids, really.
In a way inconceivable in today's Web-fragmented marketplace, Usenet was
where you went to talk. Conceived back in the idealistic, non-profit
days of the Internet, it was--well, it is, but it mostly was--a series
of bulletin boards called "newsgroups" shared by thousands of computers,
which traded new messages several times a day.
On the text-only Usenet of my memory, nobody knew whether you were a
dog, or a kid, or Finnish--only what you wrote. There wasn't the
obsession with photos and video that overruns today's social networking
sites. Yeah, I know that sounds like "get off my lawn you darn kids"
crotchetiness, but there's something really nice about just talking to
people and not caring what they look like.
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