What's your online genealogy? June 6, 2017 8:46 PM   Subscribe

I stumbled upon this tweet recently:
“what's your online genealogy. mine is: digimon forums moderator -> rpg maker - > somethingawful -> lf -> twitter” ~ @immolations
It got me thinking about the various online communities I've been a part of in my digital life, the different digital phases I've posted, shared, & tweeted my way through. Where does MetaFilter fall into your own digital history? What is your online genealogy?
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 8:46 PM (147 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Aol > ICQ > AIM > MSN > Terry Brooks Forum > Blogger > Facebook > Tumblr > Twitter > MetaFilter > Twitch.

Lately I find myself going back and forth between MetaFilter, Twitter, & Twitch. It's where I feel most at home.
posted by Fizz at 8:50 PM on June 6, 2017


FIDONet->MetroBBS->ISCA->Usenet->Slashdot->LiveJournal->K5->Metafilter would probably be the high points, at least.
posted by jferg at 8:54 PM on June 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ooh, I just thought of another one. Had completely forgotten of the very first digital community I was part of, Excite's Virtual Places. It's where I first learned what an 'avatar' was. And learned the “ASL?” chat introductory conversation starter. Was probably too young to be a part of that online community, but those early days of Internet in 94 or 95 was basically the wild west. And my parents didn't know any better and neither did I.
posted by Fizz at 8:59 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

alt.usage.english and alt.folklore.urban -> listservs for Patrick O'Brian and Dorothy Sayers -> Metafilter -> my own blog -> retreat to MeFi and Facebook.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:08 PM on June 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Various BBSs > CompuServe > AOL > Slashdot > Harmony Central > MetaFilter > Facebook > Twitter > the Sublimed, I hope
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:17 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Television Without Pity > Tomato Nation > MetaFilter > Salon/Tabletalk > Shakesville (before it was called that)/FWD/Feministing/Shapely Prose > Metachat > Facebook [still there] > wedding board whose name I'm forgetting > looong hiatus from everything but Facebook > MetaFilter.
posted by lazuli at 9:27 PM on June 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

A couple of actual genealogy websites when I began researching several years ago, but that didn't last long (the sites tended to be infuriatingly inaccurate—looking at you ancestry.com) and Metafilter. That's it. No facebook, no twitter, etc.

Fwiw, I've had a computer since 1984 (coincidently, the year I turned 30). I don't remember when we first had internet access at home, but it was still a relative curiosity in our circle (perhaps early 90s?). Until about 10 years ago, I was probably in the "early adopter" category, which is no longer the case.

No idea why I've been so anti-social, cyberwise. I guess I was just waiting for the right one.
posted by she's not there at 9:28 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Quantum Link -> BBSes (many) -> Usenet (most of it) -> IRC -> Slashdot/Kuro5hin/LiveJournal/Tribe/blogs -> MeFi -> Facebook -> Twitter -> Reddit. Plus a few along the way that need to be left off for reasons.
posted by scalefree at 9:37 PM on June 6, 2017

And quite a few I tried but never took to or they failed - Friendster, MySpace, Orkut, Google+ come to mind.
posted by scalefree at 9:42 PM on June 6, 2017

Plus a few along the way that need to be left off for reasons.

Google+ is something we've all experimented with, it's ok. This is a safe space.
posted by Fizz at 9:43 PM on June 6, 2017 [15 favorites]

Does anyone remember RADIO::RADIO at DEC?
posted by bendy at 10:18 PM on June 6, 2017

Ones that stuck more than a short trial period:
Random wandering around blogs
Mefi / Memepool
Memepool dies
RSS feeds
Quit Facebook

Now mostly just Mefi, Twitter, and Feedly
posted by ctmf at 10:20 PM on June 6, 2017

Misc. BBSes (via my older brother) > Prodigy (ugh) > Usenet (via pine/tin/etc.) > a place called Utopia Parkway > IRC > AIM > LiveJournal > Friendster > MySpace > MeFi > Facebook > MetaChat > Tribe. And various gay-specific ones along the way (Gay.com, AOL chat, etc.) that were, ah, a bit more utilitarian...

Basically just FB and this place now.
posted by mykescipark at 10:21 PM on June 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ah man... Let's see.

School-district email --> Chatropolis --> Yahoo! Mail --> Yahoo! Games --> Geocities --> Girl Scout camp sites and forums --> Andi's Quotes --> Harmony Central --> AIM --> summer program bulletin board --> subsequent Invision board mod --> Aqua-Soft --> MetaFilter lurker --> Direct Connect hub op --> Soulseek --> Diablo II --> Jablog admin --> Last.fm --> Facebook --> LiveJournal --> MetaFilter member --> Gmail --> Google Chat --> Twitter --> The Motley Fool --> Open Salon --> MetaChat --> EDC Forums --> Slack --> Instagram

It's mostly MetaFilter, Twitter, Facebook, Google Chat, Slack, and IRC for me now.
posted by limeonaire at 11:18 PM on June 6, 2017

Oh right, Xanga and Blogger should probably be in that list before Aqua-Soft. Ah memories. Haha.
posted by limeonaire at 11:27 PM on June 6, 2017

posted by mullacc at 11:31 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm sort of like she's not there. I've been online since before AOL started, and I've participated briefly in a lot of forums for specific information, but not social interaction.
Then came MF, and now Twitter. But Twitter, which I never thought I'd like, is just a political news aggregator and propaganda disseminator and I mostly retweet things. If anyone in my feed posts non political things I unfollow them.
posted by bongo_x at 12:43 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

various dial-in BBSes --> IRC --> USENET --> ICQ --> Slashdot --> Verant/SOEs official EverQuest forums --> Mailing Lists --> Renderosity/CGTalk/ConceptArt/DeviantArt --> TWoP --> Metafilter --> Reddit
posted by xyzzy at 1:36 AM on June 7, 2017

These are the places where I've been part of actual online discussion:

Dow Jones News Retrieval --> Compuserve --> BBS's --> Prodigy/GEnie/AOL --> USENET (esp. alt.folklore.urban) --> Slashdot --> Slate's "Fray"/Salon's "Table Talk" --> MeFi. And numerous other places along the way (such as TWoP), especially mid-00s onward.

Well, maybe no discussion at DJNR, they didn't have channels. But that was where I first got online at all in 1983. All the others are places where I got in lots of discussions with lots of people. I've corresponded with all sorts of notable people, too, because in the 90s you could just email people and they'd answer.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:26 AM on June 7, 2017

BBSes / Telnet (1992-1994)
AOL (1993-2000)
MegaZeux forums (1994-2000)
AIM (1997-2006)
Slashdot (2003)
A.I. ARG "The Beast" (2001)
Soulseek (2002-2007, 2016-present)
Davidlynch.com (2003-2004)
Livejournal (2003-2010)
Okcupid (2003-2017)
Princeton Review forums / autoadmit / xoxohth (2003-2007)
Thefacebook / Facebook (2004-present)
Myspace (2005-2008)
Bandsintown.com (2005-2010)
Last.fm (2005-2012)
Metafilter (2006-present)
Lala (2008-2010)
Twitter (2009-present)
Rdio (2010-2015)
MLKSHK / MLTSHP (2011- 2015, 2017-present)
Disquiet Junto (2012-present)
Tumblr (2013-2015)
Instagram (2013-present)
Slack (2015-present)
posted by naju at 2:49 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

(with apologies to Digg, Google+, Ello, Mastodon, tilde club, Vine, Snapchat, and various other places I've flirted with noncommittally)
posted by naju at 2:54 AM on June 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

If we're only counting places where I was an active community member rather than a lurker or consumer:

The Source > BBSes and DDial > Usenet and IRC (via a Netcom dialup account) > Twitter > Tumblr > Facebook > MeFi

While I was an extremely active user of Twitter and Facebook, I've now left both. I have an Instagram but I just use it to see what's on view in galleries I can't visit in person. I intermittently post to some of the blogs I read, but don't do much sustained discussion. Looking back, I think far too much of my social and emotional life has been wasted staring into screens. Hell, I even think about deleting this account about once a week.
posted by informavore at 3:19 AM on June 7, 2017

Oh good lord. This will be an interesting exercise. Let's see --

local dial-up BBS 1984ish (via C=64)
Prodigy around that time too
independent dial-up access to university-associated computer access node (telnet, unix) 1988ish (via AT&T 100 dumb terminal and 300 baud modem)
concurrent with that: IRC (#gblf) and mailing lists (Indigo Girls Mailing List, Bear Mailing List most prominently)
USEnet groups (can't remember their names, but gay related)
I was witness to the beginning of the Endless September
um.... later, in the "using a real computer" era
ICQ happened at some point. As did AIM and Yahoo Messenger.
Wow, this is more difficult than I thought.
Gay.com used to have chat rooms by locality. I spent a lot of time there for many many years.
My LiveJournal was a lot of fun for a while, until the Exodus happened and I can't even log in there anymore because password?
I did stuff on NIN forums for a while, Echoing The Sound and then also at nin.com.
Bear411 which was both useful and irritating.
Skype is a thing I use a lot
I guess I joined MetaFilter in 2009, but I'd been reading it in dribs and drabs for years before that.
I'm not much of a "joiner" in general.
Oh yeah, twitter happened specifically as a furry fandom thing for me.
Also Meetup, again a furry thing.

The big pressure right now is for me to join Telegram. I'm resisting, but it seems to be Where All The Cool Kids are these days.
posted by hippybear at 3:23 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

AOL games -> AOL chat rooms -> Neopets -> MySpace -> Kingdom of Loathing -> StumbleUpon -> ???person??? -> Metafilter -> Reddit

I wish I could remember that link between SU and MeFi. It was a person on here who I remember had made comments about Survivor and about his experience with borderline personality disorder. I also read some of his writing on his blog, especially a short story about aliens. I have no idea how I "met" this person, but it was he who led me to MeFi. I lurked for several months before finally ponying up the cash to join. This community has led me through my 20s. I've learned so much here, especially how to argue and how to listen. I'm so grateful to still be here and still have this.
posted by Night_owl at 5:44 AM on June 7, 2017

Neopets -> Digimon forum member -> Habbo Hotel -> LiveJournal -> Myspace -> GreatestJournal -> Facebook -> Metafilter -> Reddit -> Anywhere But Reddit
posted by all about eevee at 5:47 AM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Gaterbowl (local BBS run by my friend) 1980s
AOL 1993 - 1997(?)
Zug.com/gab (comedy forum) 1997-2010
Various home pages on local ISPs or Geocities-type sites 1997 - 2000
Blogger 1998 - 2008
ICQ - somewhere around late 1990s
Metafilter 2001 - present
Facebook 2007 - present
Twitter 2008 - present
Instagram 2015 - present
mltshp 2017 - present
posted by bondcliff at 6:17 AM on June 7, 2017

hippybear: net.motss, later soc.motss, maybe?

I went from shared multiuser machines and email with friends in 1981 to netnews/USENET by 1983 or so and some larger social mailing lists about 1983/1984. That was most of my online interaction - as AIM etc came about, I started talking with the same folks I knew through other forums (usually social mailing lists or occasionally work-based social mailing lists) via alternet methods, including IRC. Spent some time on MOOs/MUSHes in the mid 1990s where I met some new folks. For the most part, my offline social world and online social world have been tightly coupled. I was working with some folks I knew via that crowd and they were all happily reading things via bloglines, so I fired it up and somehow came across a recommendation for MeFi. Started lurking for a while and eventually paid my $5.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:19 AM on June 7, 2017

also that local BBS was accessed with a 300 baud modem. 300! You would watch as the text slowly appeared on the 32 column screen of my TRS-80 CoCo.

I think I started on AOL with a 1200 baud and gradually moved up to 14k, which was blazingly fast until I got a cable modem.
posted by bondcliff at 6:24 AM on June 7, 2017

Random chat sites that I snuck onto after my parents went to bed > Geocities > AIM > LiveJournal > Plastic (!!) > MakeupAlley > Television Without Pity > a bunch of celebrity gossip sites? > a bunch of Harry Potter-themed LiveJournal groups where you fill out a questionnaire and the other members tell you which Hogwarts house is your best fit > a bunch of makeup-themed LJ groups > (I also secretly belonged to some pro-ana LJ groups which was super not good) > Facebook > Ravelry > Metafilter > Twitter > various nail polish blogs for a while > currently a bunch of mom Facebook groups.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:24 AM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Prodigy > AOL > AIM > Livejournal > yahoo > Myspace >gmail/google/gchat > Facebook > Metafilter > Instagram > Snapchat
posted by Fig at 6:42 AM on June 7, 2017

Fark -> MetaFilter
posted by yhbc at 7:01 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

ICQ > AIM > Forum 2000 > Fark > Metafilter > Twitter
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:15 AM on June 7, 2017


ICQ > AIM > Geocities > Forum 2000 > Fark > Metafilter > Twitter
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:17 AM on June 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Very, very roughly, and only communities I lost considerable time:
2000: NHL Wishlist, Soccer Gaming, Home of the Underdogs [irc, msn, icq]
2001: Urban75
2005: AudioScrobbler
2007: Twitter [gtalk]
2009: Facebook, Tumblr (?)
2010: Steam
2012: Letterboxd [fb messenger]
2015: Metafilter
2016: Instagram
posted by lmfsilva at 7:21 AM on June 7, 2017

Vax university system: Masrelay, "phone," usenet. Then: WordPerfect support BBS, kinklink, Yahoo clubs/groups and Messenger, AIM, adult friendster, they wouldn't let me delete my account, jerks, LiveJournal, local Boston site somewhat connected with the Boston Globe, MySpace for about a week, alt.com, Metafilter, Facebook.
posted by sockerpup at 7:29 AM on June 7, 2017

1989-1991: Prodigy
1990-1996: Dialup BBSes (user, then sysop), FidoNet (1:273 represent!)
1994-2000: Usenet
1994-present: IRC
1997-present: ICQ -> AIM -> Jabber
2000-present: empeg forums
2009-present: MeFi
posted by tonycpsu at 7:38 AM on June 7, 2017

Ugh other ones keep popping into my head like "Livejournal" and "1999 Yahoo! group for Rhode Island Lesbians". It's weird to forget places that were a big deal to you at the time. Those Geocities sites, fucking terrible as they were (and believe me, they were), mattered to me a whole bunch when I was fourteen.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:39 AM on June 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Oh God and an IRC chat room with my best friend from high school who, it turns out, is also on Metafilter! My family had two computers in the computer room (still a thing in 2001) and we'd be physically in the same room but talking to each other through the main chat room, private chat, and AIM. He went on to get a Ph.D. studying communications in virtual space which should probably not be a surprise. It's crazy to have gone from hanging out together in problematic IRC chats with a bunch of other teenagers and college students to sharing pictures of our kids.

Sorry I'm posting so much in this thread but it really is bringing back a surprising amount of stuff I'd forgotten that I would never have guessed I'd forget.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:45 AM on June 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Illuminati BBS: I started here in the late 80s.
Pine: 96-01 or so. What was the Internet even for back then? Mail.
Gmail: google and gmail literally were the internet for me
MetaFilter: read since 2003, joined in 2004.
Livejournal: also 2004, the less said the better
my own blog: 2005, anotherpanacea.com
Facebook: early adopter, it has since consumed most of my internet time.
Slack: you can make channels work colleagues or for friend groups! It's great.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:09 AM on June 7, 2017

We got the internet when I was in 8th grade and I talked to everyone through AIM--friends in real life or from nerd camp and creepy older dudes who wanted pictures and to meet at Hardee's and talk about how mean my parents are.

Right after graduating high school in June 2004 I got my .edu email address and got on facebook to meet my new college friends.

Then in the last month of college I joined metafilter.

My metafilter name is the same as my AIM screen name. In my online genealogy I'm my own grandfather.
posted by phunniemee at 8:10 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

AOL message boards -> Usenet -> e-mail listservs -> Fanfiction.net/IRC -> Deadjournal -> Livejournal -> Dreamwidth/Metafilter -> Tumblr/Metafilter -> Tumblr/Instagram/Metafilter -> Dreamwidth/Instagram/Metafilter

tl;dr: Fandom moves. Metafilter abides.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:17 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Princeton Review forums / autoadmit / xoxohth (2003-2007)

Oh thank god it wasn't just me. I spent a lot of time on the Princeton Review message boards. Also the comments sections on Yahoo! News articles and a Star Wars gaming league, that pretty much accounts for my high school years. In college it was a lot of Fark, and then Metafilter and now also Reddit, against my better judgment, and Twitter.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:38 AM on June 7, 2017

I spent a lot of time on AOL's video game message boards, specifically the one for Final Fantasy Tactics.

From there to Usenet and here, basically. And SA, but that was later than here.
posted by dismas at 8:48 AM on June 7, 2017

AIM > Excite > Le Phorum (sadly now defunct), an ostensibly Phantom-of-the-Opera related forum that wound up being a miniature support group/masterclass in How to Be A Person for teenage me and took up what was probably an inordinate amount of time > LJ > MySpace (briefly) > Facebook (still) > Twitter > loooong break from anything > MeFi !
posted by peakes at 8:56 AM on June 7, 2017

Great question! Pretty rough order here:

University BBS system I can't remember the name of to save my life > AOL > iVillage > The Well > Salon Table Talk > LiveJournal > Tumblr > Twitter > Ravelry > BPAL Forums > Facebook > MetaFilter.

There are probably a few others but those are the major ones.
posted by holborne at 9:02 AM on June 7, 2017

Walkie Talkie -> Telephone (land line) -> Cell Phone -> Instant Messenger -> Yahoo Group -> Blogger -> GMail -> Text (SMS) -> Text (MMS) -> Metafilter -> Twitter/Insta -> Gmail -> Phone call -> in person coffee/chat -> Scarlet-> Fire -> WharfRat
posted by AugustWest at 9:22 AM on June 7, 2017

Prodigy (late 80s, early 90s)
Sierra Network; Compuserve (early-mid 90s)
BBSs (mid 90s)
Slashdot (late 90s, early 2000s)
MetaFilter (early 2000s-present)
posted by jedicus at 9:55 AM on June 7, 2017

posted by Room 641-A at 10:00 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Prodigy > AIM/MSN/Netscape > my own Hogwarts and Beaubatons Online websites > Homestead > Yahoo and Geocities > Xanga > Neopets > Livejournal/Deadjournal/Dreamwidth > DeviantArt > Gaia Online > MySpace > Facebook > Twitter (kind of) > iMessages (does that count) > Metafilter (2011) > Tumblr > Slack
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:08 AM on June 7, 2017

I came from the future to warn you but no-one listened. Also Friendster.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:09 AM on June 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

hippybear: net.motss, later soc.motss, maybe?

Yes, soc.motss. And some others that are entirely slipping my mind. Thanks for the memory bump!
posted by hippybear at 10:16 AM on June 7, 2017

I'm going to ignore all the time I spent lurking on anime and Beatles fansites and TheForce.net when I was a preteen, and start with my first active online presence, which was a forum for fans of Davey Havok, frontman of the band AFI. From there, I was led to Livejournal fandom, which is where I lived pretty much until I discovered MeFi. I've had some degree of presence on a couple other forums, namely the Straight Dope Message Board and the forums on (English DJ) Erol Alkan's website. I've also at some point developed a Twitter addiction.

Oh, and in the early/mid-00s there was that thing that let you embed a mini-website in your AIM profile. Does anyone else remember that? I think mine had maybe a quiz about David Bowie and some of my angsty poetry.
posted by capricorn at 10:18 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: a quiz about David Bowie and some of my angsty poetry.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 AM on June 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

I definitely had a small mine of content buried in my AIM subprofile back in 2002.
posted by limeonaire at 10:29 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

WWIV BBSs > UseNet > IRC > MeTa, basically.
posted by Mid at 10:30 AM on June 7, 2017

I also forgot about the social media aspect of World of Warcraft and various guilds I was a part of.

And lately Discord has been a big part of my gaming life. I have a few different channels I'm a part of and it's a great way to online game and chat with other people.
posted by Fizz at 10:39 AM on June 7, 2017

Prodigy > Usenet > yada yada yada > fuckedcompany > fark > MetaFilter > Glitch RIP

I was an early user of LJ, but was apparently sequestered in a little art corner because I had no idea that there was all this other stuff going on.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:39 AM on June 7, 2017

Teenage Wildlife guestbook --> Geocities websites --> Fark.com --> Teenage Wildlife message board --> Livejournal --> World of Warcraft --> Lurk on Metafilter and blogs via Bloglines --> Facebook and Google Reader --> Join Metafilter, but all RSS readers die out --> Twitter and LinkedIn --> Delete LinkedIn --> Considering deleting my Facebook...except the Teenage Wildlife forum has a group there now, so...

ETA: ICQ and later, AIM!
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:49 AM on June 7, 2017

Oh man, Subprofile/Xprofile, that was totally it! I also remember using my buddy profile and away messages to secretly communicate with my internet girlfriend, including using Green Day lyrics to subtweet her when we broke up.
posted by capricorn at 10:55 AM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have forgotten more of this history than I remember.

1980-1994: Lots and lots of BBS's. On a TRS-80, an Apple ][, Vic-20, Commodore 64 and 128 and eventually, PC computers from 8088-Pentiums.
1989-1995: CompuServe
1993: AOL
1993: Usenet

I'm vague on dates of many of the following:
David Brin ListServ
The Culture: Iain Banks ListServ
Several other ListServ's whose topics escape me.
May 2003: LiveJournal
The Well
Television without Pity
November 2004: Metafilter (5$ n00b)
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think...lots of Uusenet in the beginning
then....an adult-oriented New York City local BBS (I was 23 and had just gone through a major breakup, coinciding with most of my Catholic inhibitions also waving bye-bye at the same time)
then the Yahoo message boards
Livejournal in there somewhere
Television Without Pity forums
From there I discovered the Damn Hell Ass Kings webring
Which lead me to fametracker and Threeway Action
And I think that's how I found Metafilter.

Facebook and Twitter came after.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2017

AIM > Hatrack River > Keenspot BBS > Someplace Somewhere / Interesting Nonetheless > Fark > Reddit > Metafilter
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2017

Oh, Flickr Groups!
posted by Room 641-A at 11:16 AM on June 7, 2017

Dungeon, Adventure, Zork and other text-based games on mainframes > UNIX terminals for email and FTP > ISCABBS > MUDs > community blogs > MetaFilter (and on from there...)
posted by Miko at 11:41 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I also forgot Yahoo! Groups and Google Groups. Those should go on my list before Aqua-Soft as well.
posted by limeonaire at 11:49 AM on June 7, 2017

I also remember using my buddy profile and away messages to secretly communicate with my internet girlfriend, including using Green Day lyrics to subtweet her when we broke up.

The lowest thing I've ever done (I hope) is break up with an internet girlfriend via an ICQ message left while she was away followed by immediately blocking her.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:57 AM on June 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

My God! I hope no one romantically involves themselves with you ever again.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:12 PM on June 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

It's fascinating to read about the types of communities everyone here has been a part of. There's such a variety. The Internet is such a big space but we all try to carve out our own little tiny slices of it. I've enjoyed reading everyone's history here.
posted by Fizz at 12:20 PM on June 7, 2017

As best I can remember: Evansville Online > AOL > Monarchy (a browser-based game that went through a few iterations, was briefly on the Shareplay network, and had a pretty active message board) > AIM > ICQ > IRC > Metafilter (I lurked here for a loooong time before paying my $5) > Facebook > Twitter.
posted by minsies at 12:57 PM on June 7, 2017

empirical fool
posted by clavdivs at 1:06 PM on June 7, 2017

Landline and mail, then email, then Metafilter, then facebook and twitter, then not Metafilter for a while, then not facebook (because it's got a design flaw that hurts democracy), and now Metafilter again.
posted by Stanczyk at 1:24 PM on June 7, 2017

Xanga? Anyone?
posted by delight at 1:49 PM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

rec.humor > Plastic.com > Metafilter.

I'm not much of a joiner.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:50 PM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wow, ok, here goes. Most of these were fleeting unless otherwise noted:

AIM-->Yahoo Games-->straightedge.com forums (2002-2005)-->Geocities-->ATNW-->Livejournal (2003-2010)-->Facebook (2006-present)-->Wordpress-->Metafilter (2013-present)
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:06 PM on June 7, 2017

Places I've had at least some small level of open participation, starting around 1992, or so...

A couple of local BBSs (TheWarpedBBS and The Lounge)
Yahoo Messenger
nervousness.org (international mail art exchange), Livejournal and Flickr
Yahoo groups for feline health issues, then sewing machines
Quiltingboard and Victorian Sweatshop
posted by monopas at 2:57 PM on June 7, 2017

Straight Dope forums (lurker)--> Hissyfit --> Fametracker --> Metafilter (lurked for 7 years before joining...I'm such a weirdo, though in fairness for a few years there it was impossible/hard to sign up) --> Ravelry

WTF, just realized I've been a Ravelry member for 10 years. I always think of that as my "new" one!

I check MeFi and Rav daily. Still my favourite places on the web.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:28 PM on June 7, 2017

Woah, let me think. A lot of these are overlapping, really: there are multiple communities I'm still reading/posting to after many years.

College BBS -> Usenet (rec.arts.sf-lovers, etc) via company Usenet access --> [interrupted by grad school] --> Dunnetwork --> Salon Table Talk | alt.tv.x-files.* --> Onelist/Yahoogroups --> People's Crossing --> Livejournal | IRC Farscape channel --> Buffistas.org --> Dreamwidth --> AO3 --> Twitter --> Metafilter.

That's reasonably complete, I think, if not perfectly accurate in terms of chronology. There are a few fandom-specific forums I have left off the list.
posted by suelac at 3:44 PM on June 7, 2017

I don't really have one of these genealogies, as I've never been particularly active online. Probably the closest I can get is something like: ICQ -> IRC -> Metafilter. These days my offline social activities are much more of a thing than my online ones, although I did recently reconnect with a good friend after 20 years via, of all things, Facebook. And I deleted my LinkedIn account because I got tired of getting emails from a site that I was only logging into maybe once every two years.

Metafilter has been the most consistent thread in my online life. I lurked from close to the beginning, back when it was just a thing a bit like Memepool. Later on, I joined, posted a couple of things, and forgot that I was a member. A couple of years later I joined again, and was moderately active under a different username. And then, a couple of years back, I ditched that identity (I think because I felt I'd accumulated baggage from all of the comments I'd made), and here I am... one of many users who don't post or comment all that much, but just enough to be on the radar of half a dozen people who sometimes favourite stuff I say. I don't identify with a lot of what I've said under this username either, really. But at some point you just have to own it all and say "I vary".
posted by pipeski at 3:47 PM on June 7, 2017

Fortunecity forums > The Well > K5 / Builder Buzz > Metafilter > Tumblr
posted by rjs at 3:52 PM on June 7, 2017

Wiztype > Zork > third-grade typing class > inept Archie searches > alt.*/talk.* lurking > WBS chatrooms and IRC as well as some other platform that I forget (always the 16-19 rooms; I was 11/12) > Geocities and Homestead > maybe if I'm cool enough they'll let me join hell.com > MU*s and IRC > diaryland and ICQ and AOL and thespark.com (for the quizzes!) > Metafilter lurking > more MU*s and livejournal and deviantart > flickr and MySpace and The Facebook and what do you mean I need a gmail account > OKCupid (for the quizzes!) > Metafilter account, the first one > Facebook and the last MU*s > Second Life > more Metafilter accounts and Twitter and Blogger and Wordpress > and not much new in the last 5-7 years, which is weird when I think about it. Sort of all blurs together these days. I might miss the feeling of getting excited over a new platform, but it's probably better this way.
posted by notquitemaryann at 4:16 PM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Are we including sockpuppets in this exercise? I don't even know how many sockpuppets I have here anymore.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:32 PM on June 7, 2017

This was a really fun question to answer and made me both very sentimental and also somewhat mortified about all the places I used to hang out in. (I'd like to add Doll Palace to my list as well, now that I think of it.)
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:34 PM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Estrolist, Salon Tabletalk, Livejournal, The Well, Blogger, Reddit, Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter
posted by rpfields at 4:54 PM on June 7, 2017

FidoNet @ 2400 bps
IRC @ 14400 bps
[personalname.com] (worked for a mom'n'pop ISP shop @ 56K)
alt.books.nin (oh, someone went to college)
Slashdot (oh, someone didn't like M$)
PlanetQuake (almost flunked out!)
Salon (almost flunked out for different reasons!)
DiaryLand/LiveJournal/hand-rolled journaling solution with IIS and SQL Server (!?)
stripcreator (waves to frenetic)
Fark (9/11)
The A.V. Club (updated weekly)
K5 (almost got fired!)
Friendster/Myspace (didn't get me laid)
MetaFilter ($5 baby)
Twitter (Brevity is the soul of wit—sad!)
Facebook and its inner satellites

I have a habit of reserving my name on all the new hip social media platforms as soon as I can, only to see them wither quickly on the vine. I was lucky to get personalname.com 20 years ago and @personalname in 2008.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:04 PM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh wow, I don't know what Doll Palace was, but that made me remember that MLPTP should be on my list somewhere concurrent with LiveJournal as well. Ah hobbies...
posted by limeonaire at 5:28 PM on June 7, 2017


aol chat and game rooms -->
Geocities -->
Stitchin' Bitches/Phunky Bitches webrings -->
Livejournal (current, because I just can't give you up)
Radio Free Colorado -->
Blogger -->
Ravelry -->
posted by Elly Vortex at 5:44 PM on June 7, 2017

Marathon college-wide LAN games of, well, Marathon --> wordsmith.org forums --> zug.com --> Fark --> H*R wiki --> cardhouse--> MeFi --> Facebook --> Twitter

Something like that.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:14 PM on June 7, 2017

Hmmm...My memory isn't that great.

Various Philly area BBSes -> igormud -> slashdot -> fark -> metafilter

Is probably the best straight line approximation.

I guess we would also have

BBS doors -> igormud -> lineage 1 -> iro -> wow / maple story -> married with kids
posted by Literaryhero at 6:38 PM on June 7, 2017

Oldmanmurray 1.0 > Oldmanmurray 2.0 > Oldmanmurray 3.0 > Caltrops > www.quartertothree.com / www.rpg.net > www.brokenforums > www.somethingawful.com

The three OMMs are thanks to the forum being repeatedly nuked back to zero by hilarious nerd drama.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:16 PM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Alt.fashion + alt.gothic.fashion ->
Buffy Cross and Stake spoiler boards + corporate goth forums ->
organizedhome.com ->
livejournal [local club/music scene] ->
livejournal phase 2 Harry Potter fandom (plus following to Dreamwidth, insane journal, AO3, etc) ->
Facebook -> twitter ->

The biggest chunk of my internet participation was HP fandom, as well as organizedhome.com (which I still miss so much!) during the early and mid 2000s.

There are also countless parts of the internet I was solely a lurker - digg, reddit, carolyn hax comments, so many blogs, AskMe for years before getting my own acct, and these days YouTube.
posted by A hidden well at 7:34 PM on June 7, 2017

USENET in college, mainly alt.callahans and rec.games.frp - met a guy through that latter group, later on I was on ISCABBS, hosted my first web page in 1995ish on some Ohio State server offering free web hosting, started blogging around 1997, rolled my own then later switched to Blogger, originally joined Metafilter early on (my first user number is 3 digits), got work on the strength of my self taught HTML skills and did that 1997-2001, got laid off August 31, 2001, blogged on and off over the years, still occasionally poked into USENET and IRC, joined MetaFilter again in 2006. My main community for the past 10 years, though, has been Facebook. Oh, and the guy from rec.games.frp? We've been married 22 years.
posted by booksherpa at 7:35 PM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mine sort of go in groups

Barely social: DG mainframe from home, dial-up BBSes, high school VAX
College: I think I used talk? and you'd sort of finger people (hush!) and randomly send them email
Grad school: rec.arts.bodyart and some LIS groups and I think a few UW ones back when the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin were still fighting, gopher (I swapped email with Adam Curry because of the mtv.com gopher)
Post-Grad School: blogosphere & meetup.com and some proto social sites (friendster? tribe? MySpace? some homegrown ones like NotLost and 1142)
Online communities: MetaFilter and Learned League
BigSocial: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

RIP: Vox, ftp-able Blogger, open source Movable Type

I'm sure there's stuff I am missing but that's the big handwavey stuff I can remember.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:58 PM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

ICQ > Home of the Underdogs > IRC > MeFi.

I've used and use many other sites and services (Facebook, various forums, a couple of different IM and chat things) but those are the ones that were or are important to me, where I spend or spent the most time, and the ones that I would say define or defined my online identity.

posted by Dysk at 8:02 PM on June 7, 2017


Metafilter: Less filling, same great taste.
posted by Oyéah at 8:28 PM on June 7, 2017

Wow, this is a cool idea.

AOL > ebay > datalounge > secondwivescafe > Second Life > Blogger > wikipedia > Facebook > Metafilter > Tumblr > Twitter > Ravelry > Hay Day (I'll admit it)
posted by Mchelly at 8:43 PM on June 7, 2017

posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:17 PM on June 7, 2017

Oh no, I yada yada'd over deviantart. Maybe because there's something melancholy about my time there. And briefly TWOP for The Amazing Race S1 & 2 and The Mole.

No Craigslist? A good friend used to spend so much time there on this one particular general board. This was 10, maybe 15 years ago. All I remember is that is was really toxic and I think she got banned. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:58 PM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

CompuServe > mid-90s online fandom > MOOs > MUSHes ---> (A)

        / LiveJournal > back to MUSHes > Tumblr > back to mostly MUSHes > Tumblr Hannibal fandom > Tumblr Yuri on Ice fandom ----> (B)
(A) <--
        \ LifeHacker > Metafilter > Kingdom of Loathing > back on Metafilter ----> (C)

        / back to MUSHing > not really MUSHing > periodically look piningly at empty MUSHes and ponder writing MUSH server in Ruby
(B) <--
        \ Rabbit streams of good anime > Rabbit streams of bad anime > Discord anime trash > AO3 and so many late night regrets

        / learn-to-code sites > /r/webdev > /r/feedthebeast > other gaming subs > social justice subs > heavily-moderated tech Slacks
(C) <--
        \ Tinykittens, so much Tinykittens
The A split happened between like 2005-2007. The B split just happened last fall. The C split happened in 2014. Of all of those things, Metafilter is probably the place I visited earliest that I continue to frequent. I really had no idea how convoluted my internet life has been until I started to try to break this out. It also made me realize stuff like--I spent several years hugely active on KoL and I haven't even thought about it in months and probably haven't even logged in in 5 years.
posted by Sequence at 10:25 PM on June 7, 2017

Suction cups>Tymnet>Thermal printer
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:42 PM on June 7, 2017

That is, I dialed up, heard the noise, and put the phone into the suction cups. Then I typed into the thermal printer, and we had email. If I wanted to correct an email, I would type Line >teh Line >the

or something like that. On a thermal printer, which was connected via a phone suctioned onto a node.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:50 PM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

BBSes (starting at 300 Baud on a CoCo2 up to 14.4 HST) -> USENET (so much USENET) -> assorted LISTSERVs and Majordomos for photography, cars, woodworking, sustainable living (some still activeish) -> Tilted Forum Project -> /. -> K5 -> MonkeyFilter -> Metafilter would be my main track.

Assorted minor branches as interests wax and waned I've been active on Teardrops and Tiny Trailers; DeWalt Radial Arm forum (still hosted on Delphi!); Local Chat on various VAX Systems, a bit of MetaChat; Grassroots Motorsports; Reddit; The Marriage Bed.

I also use Tumblr, Imgur and Facebook but I wouldn't really consider myself engaged in those communities. Mostly I use them to distribute my Daily 365 project.
posted by Mitheral at 11:16 PM on June 7, 2017

MUD in my first year at University in 1991, before I knew what the internet was -> usenet (alt.music.stoneroses was my main community) -> no home computer access for years -> drug harm reduction forums -> library blog community -> Metafilter (lurking in 2002/3 and trying to get an account when Matt opened the window, eventually joined a few months after $5 membership came in)-> Football365 -> MySpace -> CricInfo -> Facebook -> Twitter - efestivals forums -> fbtz -> Oink -> Drowned in Sound forums - Guardian.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:32 AM on June 8, 2017

Over the years, roughly in order of first use:

FTP (built and uploaded a website)
Linux Mint forum

No longer using:

posted by Too-Ticky at 3:58 AM on June 8, 2017

And I can't really do the arrow thing because it suggests that one thing lead to the other, or that I moved on from one thing to the other, which is probably only true with regards to
MySpace -> LiveJournal -> Dreamwidth.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:01 AM on June 8, 2017

Compuserve forums, starting around 1994. There were two like-minded people I remember talking with often: one was a lawyer called Saint Cynic, the other was a high school wunderkind whose screenname I have forgotten. I miss that forum. In the late 90s I was on a card gaming site where I played a lot of Hearts and Spades. I befriended one person in particular. Her screenname was KASHE, which was her first initial, last name. We partnered up on Spades quite a bit and chatted. That site died, and I never found a good replacement. I had (have?) her email address but we lost touch. I was on ICQ then as well, and mainly remember it for Brittney, a young woman I met through random chat. We really connected. Chat turned to phone calls and letters and gifts. We had talked about meeting in person, but then I met my now-wife and it kind of faded away. We're still Facebook friends, though. I was also active in the late 90s on a listserv for members of the tiny Christian subsect I grew up in. We had vigorous, but usually friendly, theological debates in those days. I didn't know it then, but the mid-90s were the peak years for our little group, and it's now clear that my ecclesial home is dying. The listserv is dying as well. It's down to a few emails a month, mainly prayer requests and funeral announcements.

By the early 2000s I had found MetaFilter, although I didn't join until 2006. Through MetaFilter meetups and connections, I made IRL friends in North Carolina, Fort Worth, and now Houston.

There were a few others along the way--some theological stuff on Usenet, various absndoned blogs, but those are the ones that stand out. Looking back now, I realize I don't think about the sites as much as the people I met through them. My life is richer because of Saint Cynic, KASHE, Brittney, and all you guys.

Ah, now you've gone and made me nostalgic.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:49 AM on June 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

PLATO (starting in 1985, to around 1995)
usenet (late 1980s to mid-2000s--especially alt.support.single-parents, alt.support.marriage, and alt.support.divorce, plus a little this-and-that like misc.consumers.frugal-living and the venerable/venereal alt.sex)
a BBS or two in the late 1980s/early 1990s?
I participated lightly in a lot of internet forums/message boards between when usenet became unusablenet and when I started participating in Metafilter and Facebook (around 2007-2008). I remember Eyebrows McGee from the Consumerist forums! But I didn't really have an online home base for a few years there.
posted by drlith at 6:20 AM on June 8, 2017

Genealogy? 1982 Grandpa's showed me his 3'x4' 1200 baud modem prototype from his time at bell labs. We called the next room... it was magical.
From there BBSes->telnet chat->mosaic-> Mozilla-> FoxPro online mouse database for Jax.org->college->RF modem from our apartment to a lab to get 19200 baud instead of the dialup 4800 available... that got shut off by the administration... we moved it... it got shut of again.... so we joined their IT as work studies and set it back up... stopped all things web and focused on school...

Then had to build a web browser for people with disabilities that was platform agnostic. We wrote it in java as java came out, but we couldn't handle frames properly and the speech API was only released as documentation at the time so we stubbed in the speech API according to specification and wrote it to a line printer... citing that it would print in braile if a brake printer was available. I learned a ton about tokenization... read a lot of slashdot.

Found memepool and metafilter at the same time memepool had better content and no annoying comments. Found InPassing.
Loved In passing. In passing died. Memepool died, came back to Metafilter... it now cost 5 bucks... I didn't want to pay, thinking it would one day be free again...
8 years passed as a lurker... forget what it was to make me pay... but my first few comments were on the fallout of living and loving people with anorexia... which sadly, i am an expert at with multiple experiences and hefty amounts of actual training...

Asides from that... wolfenstein3d->doom->doom2->quake->anarchy online->wow->She of conan

Work wise... I now live SQL->Hadoop migration
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:25 AM on June 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

AOL (via floppy discs) > ungated internet (however we browsed and searched in the mid-1990s - webrings come to mind) > MP3 ratio FTP sites (upload 1 mb, download 3 mb kind of thing) on dialup, hoping I didn't get disconnected in the night > w4r3z channels on iRC, FXPing to files to public FTPs in "hidden" directories > Hotline, especially in college > eDonkey2000, Napster and other weird platforms ... and so forth. Internet pirates were my kind of people, I was a virtual rebel or something.

I don't remember if I was on AOL IM or ICQ first, but I was managing multiple platforms via some 3rd party messenger program (progs, before apps). I'm on Twitter and Mastadon, but I suck at keeping active there.

Myspace > Facebook > Orkut for a while > Facebook

Discogs > failed Discogs alternative site (we tried to build our own thing after the mod revolt, but lost steam because we tried to do everything at once) > MetaFilter
posted by filthy light thief at 8:46 AM on June 8, 2017

suction cups

Global-thermal nuclear war, anyone? :)

My father was a reporter for a major newspaper in the 80s. First he read his stories to the office over the phone. Then he got a laptop(!) with some suction cups attached, which worked well enough. He hated the whole thing though, and missed his typewriter.

Ever read the stories by Chris Kraft and Gene Kranz about the early space program? They had to manually deliver telex messages between the satellite stations on different parts of the earth that were talking to the spacecrafts. *shiver*
posted by sockerpup at 9:30 AM on June 8, 2017

Usenet (to the best I can recall, mostly alt.fan.anne-rice, alt.tv.the-west-wing, alt.tv.law-and-order, rec.music.country.western, alt.fan.miss-manners, but occasionally others here and there)
IRC (#spinnwebe)
Metafilter, Puzzle Pirates, P2, Chowhound

Usenet left me, rather than me leaving it. Same with #spinnwebe, something I'm still occasionally sad about. I'm still on Metafilter, obviously. I still have a Chowhound account but since I stopped working for Chowhound, I use it much less. (Never make your hobby into your job unless you want to not love it anymore.) I'm still on Facebook and Ravelry with excessive regularity.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:24 AM on June 8, 2017

I should add that at one point in my on-line history I made a post to rec.pets.cat written from my cat's point of view. I think that was maybe rock bottom for me.
posted by bondcliff at 10:35 AM on June 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

1983: For 14th birthday, was bought a 300 bps modem for my Commodore 64. Interacted in forums on various BBS's in Boston North area, particularly Xevious in Needham and then Stoneham. Downloaded many games from other BBS's via xmodem, and participated on forums on other BBS's.

1985: DDial came to town. Many meetups of DDial and Xevious users occured.

1987-88: Futzed around on usenet and talk via CMU account

1989: Commodore 64 broke down. Used an IBM with a 286 processor at the gas station where I worked to call BBS's using the credit-card verification phone line.

1990-1992: Used computer solely for typing schoolwork; no online access.

1993: Was introduced to AOL by a college friend. Got an account for a month (via one of the ubiquitous AOL CD-R's floating around), and then ditched it.

1993-1995: tried various local dial-up ISP's; also given a Northeastern U account by an IT friend there. More usenet.

1995-1997: IRC & usenet via bu.edu. Also first use of graphical web via Win 3.1, Winsock, and Netscape.

1998-2002: Various dial-up services, text-based. Played online games and commented on some forums via graphical work accounts. Made a Geocities Blog about nothing. (I remember Beavis & Butthead and Shwarma were themes.)

2003-present: Had direct-connection ISP. Discovered Homestar Runner. Interacted on various independent blogs, Flash-game platforms, Craigslist, and cartoon-captioning contest sites. Also posted music questions to WFMU's blog.

2007: Finally realized that MetaFilter was "that blue site I kept running into when I googled something". Took a few months to lurk before ponying up the $5.

Since then, MetaFilter has been the only online forum I've regularly interacted on.
posted by not_on_display at 11:22 AM on June 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

alt.magic.wicca (the Craft had just come out and I was an impressionable kid)
Netscape- Official Redwall Messageboard
Redwall MUCK
Blogger Blog that some of you definitely read in its time but I'd be horrified to be recognized from now so will go unnamed.
Left Facebook, life improved
Still metafilter forever.
Future: Metafilter forever, I said.

I have been on the internet since 1990, as a 7 year old. Crazy.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 11:36 AM on June 8, 2017

Oh man, I forgot AIM, ICQ, memepool... also been reading kottke since absolutely forever, and boingboing too even though now it's horrible. When did boingboing become horrible?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 11:38 AM on June 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

When did boingboing become horrible?

My main issue with boingboing is that I always feel like they're trying to make a sale or are always marketing something to me. It feels so consumer-oriented and less about interesting things or ideas.
posted by Fizz at 12:16 PM on June 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, yeah. Stuff I forgot (there was kind oh a hole in my timeline)

Wikipedia in 2004 and 2005. Left because I had a health scare and backroom politics were starting to piss me off
BoingBoing between 2006 to 2008-ish, left because I was tired of Doctorow constantly promoting his book (where a teen hacks a global surveillance network using electrical sockets and a Speak and Spell or something)
Blitz (a music magazine) between 2006-ish and 2009 or so. Left because they were turning to shit, and users that were actually into music also left.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:54 PM on June 8, 2017

A partial history

Diversity University
Listservs and lots of them (IP list ftw!)
Ancient Anguish
Amazon reviews back when it was only books books books
Livejournal. I miss Livejournal.
FB Groups
posted by frumiousb at 5:05 PM on June 8, 2017

alt.fan.sonic-hedgehog -> ICQ -> The Encyclopedia of Pointless -> Metafilter-> Twitter I guess? It sounds pretty unimpressive like that. I'm also on Facebook and Tumblr but my online presence is primarily Twitter these days.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:05 PM on June 8, 2017

Gopher + FTP > Somewhere Else + usenet > a local BBS > dial-up > Achaea + so many listservs > memepool > slashdot + MetaFilter + boingboing > it's pretty much all YouTube these days
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:59 PM on June 8, 2017

I was lucky enough for my first job at 13 to be demonstrating Commodore VIC-20s at various SF Bay Area Macy's mall stores in 1981 as a "Commodore Kid." Not many people wanted demos, by the way, so I played a lot of Gorf. Part of this job was supposed to be demonstrating the hot online services of the day: The Source, CompuServe, and Dow Jones News & Retrieval. I did not have a computer at this time, but after the job ended a friend and I were playing Ladder on his family's Kaypro II and decided to try out the accounts that were in my binder from the job. They worked! For a bit. The main story about this era was being griefers on Compuserve CB (chat channels), from which my account was banned fairly quickly.

After that we had a computer at home, so the rough timeline is:

1982-1987: Various BBSes, including "Big Brother" run by Ralph Records out of Berkeley.
1987: Thrasher Magazine BBS
[No computer while flunking out of college]
1993: CompuServe (for real this time), mostly RaveNet
1994: AOL
1994-2002: Hyperreal lists (SFRaves, IDM, Ambient)
[Real ISP account finally]
1995: Usenet (wish I could find my old .newsrc!)
1995-2002: Spoon lists: Deleuze & Guattari mostly
1996: IRC (EFNet #best & #windowsnt mostly)
1997: Slashdot
1997: ICQ
1998: Napster
1998: Friendster
1999: RSS
2001: AIM
2003-2006: Lots of Unreal Tournament 2004
2003-Present: Discogs (after ad.techno.org)
2003-Present: Firedoglake, GrokLaw, Emptywheel, Glenn Greenwald, Balkinization, Volokh Conspiracy (Valerie Plame and beyond)
2006: MetaFilter
2007: Facebook
2009: Twitter
1.5MBit ADSL

I want to say there was something else between Friendster and Facebook besides MySpace, which I didn't use.
posted by rhizome at 10:33 PM on June 8, 2017

I was friends in college with the Tripod dudes, but I never used that ish
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:35 AM on June 9, 2017

I think I've been online too long to remember a lot of it.

The formative ones, starting in '93 or '94:
AOL Monty Python/music/pagan chatrooms
This amazing information superhighway thing using Netscape through dial-up AOL
Hotmail (still have the account I used most)
eBay (first bid: band press kit, won it for $47, got a message from the other bidder saying it was too rich for his blood and he was giving up)
Amazon (when it was just a bookstore)
IMDb (I hate that they closed the message boards, UGH I JUST WANNA TALK ABOUT MOVIES OKAY.)
MetaFilter (via memepool, lurked for years until sign-ups were open for a brief window. Even when I hate MF I always come back.)
Disapproving Rabbits
Craigslist (jobs, cars, apartments, furniture)
Tumblr (BUNBLR!)
posted by i feel possessed at 2:07 AM on June 9, 2017

Hmm, let me see if I can remember:

Geocities (1997-1999). I had a horrible website with flashing animated gifs and content copied from elsewhere.
Teen domain forums. There was a craze in the late nineties for teens to own their own domains and host a forum where you could hang out.
Buffy / Angel fandom. Got into it in a big way, then dropped out of it in a big way. Still have never seen season seven.
MightyBigTv / Fametracker --- > the MightyBigTV and Fametracker reject forums
Livejournal (still to this day)
Feminist blogosphere / Fatosphere
A period where I was a very angry mentally unwell person
Some other places I can't remember
FFA, a small but great anon community
Metafilter (on and off, mainly as a lurker)
Facebook (hate it, but can't avoid it)
posted by daybeforetheday at 2:52 AM on June 9, 2017

Oof. I forgot MeFightClub.

I'm amazed that people can remember so many dates and, well, things, but mentioning TWOP and The Amazing Race (TAR) reminded me of something. Right as season two started, my Bondi iMac died. I didn't have money for a new computer so I decided to rent one, and the cheapest option was a company that rented equipment for TV and movie production offices.

I ended up renting as little, white, laptop, and it had OSX installed. It was my first experience with it because my old iMac wasn't compatible with the brand new OS. I started poking around, and opened the mail app. Well, as soon as I did it started downloading a ton of mail. I was a little confused so I clicked a few random emails and realized that I had a laptop from the TAR production company, probably belonging to a producer of location scout. So by episode two I knew where they would be going for at least half the season, plus another few details. I actually immediately deleted everythithq and cleared the email settings, but omg I can't tell you how much I wanted to use this new knowledge in the TWOP forums. I didn't, because sometimes I manage to do the right thing.

Valerie Plame and beyond

posted by Room 641-A at 2:55 AM on June 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Glassdog > Red Cricket > Metafilter > MeFight Club > Twitter
posted by Mick at 10:58 AM on June 9, 2017

Usenet -> Fark -> CHUD -> Metafilter -> Something Awful -> Metafilter -> Criticker -> IMDB -> Metafilter -> Reddit -> Metafilter
posted by heatvision at 12:42 PM on June 9, 2017

Old porn sites-->new porn sites

posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:30 PM on June 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Metro DC dialup BBSes > AOL > Usenet and mailing lists about bands > webrings and blogs of various kinds > Plastic/Suck/memepool/slashdot/bud/Morning News > Metafilter lurking > LiveJournal > Metafilter actually having an account > Twitter > Ravelry > Slack
posted by clavicle at 6:35 PM on June 9, 2017

Old porn sites-->new porn sites

I think that's an unspoken path for everyone commenting in this thread.
posted by hippybear at 7:36 PM on June 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:49 PM on June 9, 2017

Despite the prevalence of social media buttons on porn sites I don't really see them as communities; at least for most users.
posted by Mitheral at 8:23 PM on June 9, 2017

The Q ("Digital genealogy") doesn't seem to be restricted to communities,although they are mentioned.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:35 PM on June 9, 2017

There are people who don't care for porn, believe it or not.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:41 AM on June 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

         FidoNET   GreenNET → talk_energy
      ↗           ↗
Janet → MicroLink → CIX → Demon → urbancyclist_uk
      ↘                         ↘
         Usenet → c.s.amiga     NtK, b3ta
                   slashdot → perlmonks → GTABloggers → Twitter → Facebook
                 ↙    ↓    ↘                                  
    OpenStreetMap     ↓     KoL →   Stack Exchange
         ↓            ↓
   RaspberryPi.org   MetaFilter
posted by scruss at 7:55 AM on June 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

ughhhhhh how did I not see this thread until now, what a cool idea!

Misc. plugin chat > Palace > ActiveWorlds/time spent wandering in desert of unreal > Second Life > Palace

ICQ > AIM > XMPP Gtalk > Skype > XMPP Gtalk/preferably nothing

Napster > AudioGalaxy > Soulseek > DC++ > Soulseek > BitTorrent > Soulseek > Soulseek

LiveJournal |

Random sites about dinosaurs and/or Super Nintendo > Deoxy > Erowid > Barbelith > Disinfo > alt.drugs/alt.magick > Barbelith > MetaFilter
posted by byanyothername at 10:21 AM on June 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mono || Sorabji.net boards || MeFi || Prydwen || Something Awful || B3ta

Those are the places I actually contributed.
Not many considering that spans 20 years or so.
posted by fullerine at 1:17 PM on June 10, 2017

There are people who don't care for porn, believe it or not.

I believe it!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:32 PM on June 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Misc. local BBS's -> CompuServe -> broadband -> wanders around -> Metafilter -> facebook

My facebook is heavy on news organizations, interest groups, politics, art. I swipe great links and comments and post them on fb, so people think I'm way better informed and witter than I am. I occasionally drop out of MeFi, but it's reliably the least trollish, inarticulate mess on the web. Thanks, mods.
posted by theora55 at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

AIM -> Livejournal -> Everything2 -> Flickr -> Twitter -> Metafilter

And a whole lot of other very silly things.
posted by duffell at 7:00 PM on June 11, 2017

alt.religion.kibology > fark > mefi lurker > mefi
posted by dersins at 8:35 PM on June 11, 2017

Gopher-> CompuServe -> iMusic Forums -> blogs -> Mefi.

The best intermediate step was the iMusic forums, because weirdly, a lot of artists hung out in their own forums, and I met some cool musicians and have kept friendships for years since. The worst was blogging. I'm amazed at folks like Dooce who were able to make a real go of that as a capital T Thing, because even operating at 10% that level of public exposure made me a crazy person.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:18 AM on June 12, 2017

AOL > AIM > smashingpumpkins.net chatroom > Open Diary > LiveJournal > Facebook > Librarything > Goodreads > Metafilter > Instagram [and > Twitter if lurking counts]. That is over the course of 20 years. Crazy.
posted by nightrecordings at 9:38 PM on June 12, 2017

Uh...I forgot why I came back in this thread because
posted by Room 641-A at 10:00 AM on June 7 [+] [!]
apparently my cat is commenting now.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:47 AM on June 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

'Genealogy' isn't the right word unless all you people are stoats, or some other small creature that lives only five years max. I admit I have sometimes wondered about that late at night after mighty Lagavulin has opened my eyes to esoteric truths.
posted by Segundus at 1:36 PM on June 14, 2017

On the internet, nobody knows you're a stoat.
posted by Mchelly at 2:13 PM on June 14, 2017

capitolgrilling.com (DC site with many hill staffers & other insiders; it's where I was on 9/11)
Twitter (from here down everything is simultaneous & current)
Local FB groups
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 6:46 AM on June 15, 2017

prodigy bbs - aol chat - yahoo christianity chat - yahoo groups - jehovahs witnesses online - american idol forum moderator - sims 2 forum - metafilter - reddit - hiatus
posted by Danila at 9:22 AM on June 15, 2017

« Older let's talk about the U.S. politics megathreads   |   My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments