90s chat rooms
The feeling that this was a new and semi-lawless space, that unexpected things could happen.
Just look at the earliest, successful forerunner to online chat — a program that academics invented, almost by accident, long before the birth of the World Wide Web. It was primitive, by modern standards: Only five people could chat at once, and their messages displayed letter-by-letter as they typed. But at the time, Talkomatic was something of a revelation.
Clubwhich is basically a server in the cloud where Paul Ford creates Unix s for whoever asks for one. Dewey points out that in the bygone chatroom era, it only mattered what you were interested in, not who you were in real life. In other words, they just wanted to chat.
In Octoberthe Washington Post published a piece by Caitlin Dewey, A complete history of the rise and fall — and reincarnation! But despite the closing of the 90s-era chatrooms, Dewey points out that the desire for chat remains strong, as illustrated by the continuing creation of apps like Yik Yak, Omegle, and Banter. Chatrooms were experiencing a cultural shift… A space that was once a frontier was being standardized, monetized — colonized by moms.