When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

07 April 2006

BBSes and Blogs

A great question over at MetaTalk brings the BBSers out of the woodwork: "Were you a BBSer? Did you run a BBS?" The person asking the question has noted some similarities between BBS culture and blog culture, and I think that's a very good observation.

For those of you who weren't around or weren't paying attention in the early 1980s to mid-1990s, a computer Bulletin Board System (BBS) was
...a computer system running software that allows users to dial into the system over a phone line and, using a terminal program, perform functions such as downloading software and data, uploading data, playing games, reading news, and exchanging messages with other users. During their heyday (from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s), many BBSes were run as a hobby free of charge by the "SysOp" (system operator), while other BBSes charged their users a subscription fee for access.
(Thanks, Wikipedia! Like many of their articles on technical topics, the Wikipedia article on BBSes is almost mindsnappingly good and extremely detailed.)

I must confess that I was a rabid BBS user back in the day, and wound up owning and running not one but *two* of the beasts. I ran Homestead BBS, a Wildcat board, out of my apartment in Chapel Hill for a couple of years in the late 1980s, and then I ran one of the first public Usenet boards in North Carolina, "Chatham Host," after sweet-talking a friend at Duke University into providing me with a Usenet feed.

"Were you a BBSer? Did you ever run a BBS?" | MetaTalk

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