Episode 101: BBSs and Early Internet Communities with Author Kevin Driscoll

Kevin Driscoll, author and associate professor of Media Studies at University of Virginia, discusses the history of BBSs, or bulletin board systems, and how they have been overlooked as part of the history of the internet. Developing out of his early experiences with local online communities, Kevin approaches the history of the internet from a grassroots perspective, offering up true stories and examples of how everyday people developed communities online. He outlines how BBSs, from the late 1970s to the 1980s, develop from a space for computer club members to share information to a place where marginalized groups, for example gay men, could gather online. Using BBS lists that were either regional or interest-oriented, Driscoll has been able to uncover the various communities and practices of early online interactions that laid the groundwork for contemporary online social groups and platforms.

A full transcript of this episode will be available soon!

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Kevin Driscoll Bio
Book, The Modem World

Fred Turner’s Research on The Well
Howard Rheingold’s Research on The Well
Byte Magazine Vol. 3 number 11 featuring Christensen and Suess Article on CBBSs
Kristen Haring’s Work on Postwar Ham Radio Culture
Susan Douglas’ Work on Ham Radio Culture
Charlton McIlwain’s Work on AfroNet

Relevant Background Information: 
WIRED Article on The Well
Quartz Article on Stacy Horne and Echo
MIT  Project Athena 
Internet as Third Space
Sherry Turkle 
Amy Bruckman

Check out our previous episodes with Howard Rheingold and Sherry Turkle

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“In Time” by Dylan Emmett 
In Time (Instrumental) by Dylan Emmet  
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