In a time before the internet was a household name or even widely available at most universities, there were these beasts called Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) that ran on people’s home computers. You’d call one up via modem (how many people here remember 300 baud? 1200 baud? 2400 baud?) and only one person could use it at a time. To put it very simply, it was a world of a million little disconnected internets. People emailed, shared files, had message boards, flame wars, etc… all on a very local level.
While I was in college in the mid-1980s, I started a software company called 2AM Associates. (The name came from the average time the programmers went to sleep. I was on the far end of the curve at 3AM.) Our one product was 2AM-BBS and at its peak there were more people using it than I could keep track of. A large number of these customers were in NJ, but I was in touch with people from as far away as Malta. We didn’t make much more than pizza money (it was shareware), but it was something I loved doing. By the late 1990’s, the internet was killing the BBS community. It was small town vs big city and we lost.
I met some of the best people through the 2AM. Heck, I married one of the sysops. I’m still in touch with a few, some have died, and others I just can’t find despite my best efforts.
So why this trip down memory lane?
Wikipedia once had an entry for 2AM-BBS. It was there for quite some time and now I see that someone deleted it back in January because they didn’t think it was notable anymore.