I’ve been reading and loving Cyberville: Clicks, Culture and the Creation of an Online Town by Stacy Horn, a 1998 book about her BBS “East Coast Hang Out” or “ECHO”. A BBS that is still running today.
“It’s the access to them, the line I have straight into the hearts and minds that keeps me calling back. But the key is repeated access. To really know a person you have to talk to them again and again. Like when we were kids.”
I love that idea. That even if people are trying to be private on the BBS, it’s inevitable that folks get to know them. Like many of us were stuck with the same group of kids day in / day out in school. Love them or hate them, you were for the most part stuck with these people. So, more often than not, you didn’t have a choice but grow to love some of them.
By contrast, in a community like twitter, where I interact with more than a thousand people, I get a sense of what my existing friends are up to, but I don’t think I get to know them any better.
By the way, I found out about Stacy Horn from an excellent talk by Claire L. Evans at XOXO in 2018. Claires book Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, it is next on my list.