You remember what a BBS was? You know, the bulletin board system – the precursor of the Internet. Before there was Yahoo! and MySpace, before Ebay and Amazon, there was a network of these dial-up bulletin board systems.
Most of them were run by folks like me. I had an efficiency apartment (my first place in Houston) and next to my bed sat a computer connected to the extra phone line… this was Good Sports BBS. That’s right… I ran one of the most popular bulletin boards around. This sports-themed online community featured online games, chat rooms, message boards, fantasy sports, and even sports memorabilia auctions.
It is weird in that I met some of my friends through Good Sports BBS. This was in a time long before anything as exciting as video or even pictures were available online. The height of our media sharing in those days were ascii graphics (if you have to ask… never mind.) One of the biggest successes was a self-running electronic newsletter that people downloaded and played on their computer called “Digital Echo News.” It featured editorials (of course) by myself, submissions from other citizen journalists, digital art, and all manner of tech news. I sure wish I could find an old copy.
The reason I bring all of this up is not to lament that I had the mechanics of an Ebay or Amazon long before the web was invented… no, its just that I noticed my only surviving remnant from that time – one lone tshirt. On my wall still hangs the only remaining tshirt from those early days. These were given out as prizes for winning things like the fantasy league or just sold so my users could show the world that they were indeed uber-geeks.
Now, twenty years later… I am still connected via the same wires (albeit faster,) still bringing disparate people together to form communities, and still surfing on the edge of the newest geek stuff. The more things change…