Found in 13 comments on Hacker News
WalterBright · 2023-11-10 · Original thread
The bulletin board networks.

People with two or more computers were always finding ways to connect them before the internet. Networking protocols were a dime a dozen in the 70s and 80s. The idea that people would never hit on the idea of a protocol over telephone wires is not particularly compelling.

It's like saying if the Wrights had not invented controlled, powered flight in 1903 we'd still not have airplanes. (It would probably have been accomplished by other people by 1908 or so, 1910 at the latest.)

The internet was just one step in a long line of digital telecommunications networks, starting with telegraphy. See "The Victorian Internet" by Tom Standage

WalterBright · 2023-03-16 · Original thread
The first internet was really the telegraphy network. It even had chat rooms.

Stratoscope · 2019-07-23 · Original thread
Anyone who likes this article may also enjoy The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage.

It is about the human and cultural impact of the telegraph as much as the technology. The telegraph enabled instant communication, and when the first undersea cables were laid in the mid-1800s, that communication stretched from one continent to another. This changed many things.

One of my favorite chapters is "Love on the Lines", about the telegraph operators who flirted with each other in Morse code and even got married "on line".

wpietri · 2018-07-16 · Original thread
I don't think the people who created Usenet were entirely unaware of human social dynamics. And the people who created things like Twitter certainly weren't unaware that Usenet, mailing lists, and web forums existed.

But at best, they had an incredibly rosy view of what was going on. E.g., looking back, a Twitter founder claims that in 2006 everyone "was cool":

Given Gabriel's theory, that's obvious bunk. And having talked to some online community pioneers, abuse started pretty much from the get go. Look at all the replies I got when I brought it up on Twitter, for example. Story after story of early experiences of trolling, abuse, etc:

There was (and is) a strong strain of technoutopianism, where we take the shiny new possibility and project a perfect future onto it. This goes back at least as far as the introduction of the telegraph, which many thought would bring about world peace:

As Neiwart documents, though, many of the terrible people online today are intellectual descendants of the terrible people who were doing their social networking in person and via the mail:

wpietri · 2018-01-01 · Original thread
I'm not sure you read this very well. The notion is not that the Arab spring was a utopia. The notion was that the Arab spring, fueled by direct person-to-person connection on FB, Twitter, Whatsapp, etc, were symptomatic of the Internet's power to create freedom and social utopia.

It's part of a persistent strain of technoutopianism. You might read Tom Standage's excellent 1998 book "The Victorian Internet", which talks about the adoption of the telegraph during the Victorian era. Many of the same things people said about the Internet's power to change society were said about the telegraph:

Stratoscope · 2017-05-12 · Original thread
Start from the beginning of the story to get all the context. It's an interesting read:

And if you like this, I recommend The Victorian Internet:

TYPE_FASTER · 2017-01-13 · Original thread
This book, a good read about the invention and adoption of the telegraph, includes references to information overload from the 1800's.

TYPE_FASTER · 2017-01-13 · Original thread
This book, a good read about the invention and adoption of the telegraph, includes references to information overload from the 1800's.

edge17 · 2015-08-28 · Original thread
In the same vein, I read this recently -

It covers the history of the telegraph and the changes that came with it. Lot of good historical perspective with regard to communication over large distances.

gshubert17 · 2015-04-03 · Original thread
He's an engaging writer. I enjoyed several of his books: The Victorian Internet[0], The Turk[1], and The Neptune File [2].




sanoli · 2014-08-29 · Original thread
Also check out "The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers"

Stratoscope · 2013-07-29 · Original thread
This story sounds pretty believable after reading Tom Standage's The Victorian Internet, especially Chapter 8, "Love over the Wires".

That's one of my favorite books (and finally available in a Kindle edition!). Don't take my word for it, read a few of the reviews:

More stories of high tech in the 1800's in Neal Stephenson's Mother Earth Mother Board:

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