Sep 16, 2005

I've almost worked my way through the entire BBS: The Documentary box set at this point. Really interesting to watch the NO CARRIER segment (about the decline of the BBS and the post-BBS era) and hear a lot of the interviewees say the same things that I was musing about a couple of posts back.

There are a lot of ways in which the Internet is a superior communications technology to the BBS. There are a few BBS strengths that the Internet can't duplicate yet, though:

  • Location restrictions (i.e. local calling areas) meant that it was possible for you to meet every person you were communicating with face-to-face
  • A focus on public messages made it an interactive medium, rather than a passive one like TV
  • The relative inaccessibility of the medium made you feel like you were part of a secret club — there was this dimension to your life that most people didn't have

Blogging seems like the closest Internet analogue, particularly if you're somehow aware of bloggers that are proximate to you in the real world (via geourl, or just tribal knowledge). It still doesn't have that sense of place, though. A blog feels like a local newspaper, whereas a BBS felt like a treehouse in someone's backyard.


If you liked this, you're welcome to read more of my blatherings.