How the Social Web Came to Be (part1)


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A history of computer-facilitated networked sociality (part1)
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  • history in the making is always intriguing.
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  • Nice deck on the origins of the social Web. It is so easy to forget where things come from and focus on the technological tools. Way to take it all the way back.
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  • Good to know the story
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  • Hi great presentation really intersting to see the whole progression. i came online in 1995 so I was impressed to see that there was already 500,000 websites in 1993. Btw - I have a link below that i'd like to get out about Social media. This is a simple idea generating tool based on new idea generation techniques that I am using in my MBA thesis and its devloped on those all important questions: What, Why and How? A lot of people are still scratching their heads about social media and tend to focus on the technology rather than the conversation and human elements of being social. I hope you find the Social Media Brainstroming tools and the explanations useful and best of luck on any future implementations.
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How the Social Web Came to Be (part1)

  1. How the Social Web Came to Be part 1 Trebor Scholz Department of Media Study Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0
  2. A history of computer-mediated networked sociality Part 1: 1945-2001 Part 2: 2002- today
  3. Is the history of the Social Web, solely a history of mergers and acquisitions, sales, and new markets? Whose history do we write? Whom does it serve?
  4. This history is filtered through the lens of the following questions: •To whom do we owe most innovation on the Social Web? •Where was the Social Web created? •What motivated early programmers/users of the Internet? •How did the initial move from research to commerce take place •What were significant milestones in the scaling up of social life on the Internet? •What were some preconditions for this development? •Which content did people focus on? What were they interested in? •What were milestones in the design on the WWW?
  5. Pre-history
  6. The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage (1989) 1746 200 monks Jean-Antoine Nollet linked to electrical battery 1797 optical telegraphy
  7. 1844: Samuel Morse’ first telegraph message was: “What Hath God Wrought”
  8. The invention of the Internet in context
  9. 1945
  10. quot;knowledge on callquot; hyperlinked pages and the “memex”
  11. Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and to coin one at random, quot;memexquot; will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory. - Vannevar Bush; As We May Think; Atlantic Monthly; July 1945
  12. In 1949 in his novel Heliopolis, the German Ernst Junger dreams up the communication medium quot;Phonophor,quot; which connects everybody to everybody else, enabling a permanent , technically facilitated forum that also replaces the passport, watch, newspaper, library, and encyclopedia.
  13. [A]ctivation; authorship; community -- are the most frequently cited motivations for almost all artistic attempts to encourage participation in art since the 1960s.quot; according to art historian Claire Bishop.
  14. 1952
  15. John Cage 4’33”
  16. 1957
  17. Launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957 can be compared to Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, or 9/11 in its effect on the American psyche
  18. The Advanced Research Projects Agency
  19. 1961
  20. Leonard Kleinrock, MIT quot;Information Flow in Large Communication Netsquot; (May 31 1961) First paper on packet-switching
  21. “On Distributed Communication Networks,” March 1964 c) a network without central authority or single outage point Paul Baran
  22. 1962
  23. Packet Switching, Paul Baran 1962 at RAND, US Airforce All the nodes in the network would be equal in status to all other nodes, each node with its own authority to originate, pass, and receive messages. The messages themselves would be divided into packets, each packet separately addressed. Each packet would begin at some specified source node, and end at some other specified destination node.
  24. TCP, or quot;Transmission Control Protocol,quot; converts messages into streams of packets at the source, then reassembles them back into messages at the destination. IP, or quot;Internet Protocol,quot; handles the addressing, seeing to it that packets are routed across multiple nodes and even across multiple networks with multiple standards
  25. 1965
  26. Ted Nelson coins the term quot;Hypertextquot; in quot;A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminatequot;. 20th National Conference, New York, Association for Computing Machinery
  27. First email 1965 Already in 1965, Fernando Corbato and his colleagues at MIT developed a program to allow individual users to swap messages on one single computer.
  28. 1968
  29. quot;In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face...We believe that we are entering into a technological age, in which we will be able to interact with the richness of living information -- not merely in the passive way that we have become accustomed to using books and libraries, but as active participants in an ongoing process, bringing something to it through our interaction with it, and not simply receiving something from it by our connection to it. (53)quot;
  30. Louis Pouzin designed and directed the development of the Cyclades network in France, which then stopped in 1974.
  31. 1969
  32. In 1968, ARPA sent out a Request for Quotation to build a network of four Interface Message Processors. BBN made it. Dave Walden, Bernie Cosell, Severo Ornstein, Will Crowther, Bob Kahn 1969: Advanced Research Projects Agency commissions ARPANET to conduct research on networking. First ARPANET nodes connected UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Utah
  33. Norm Abramson wanted to surf - so he moved to Hawaii in 1969. He wanted to network with the other islands and so he built the ALOHAnet in 1970. From the University of Hawaii, Abramson connected computers over a network of radio transmitters using a protocol telling the computers how to share the airwaves.
  34. 1970
  35. TCP/IP With TCP/IP, the quot;global networkquot; was becoming a reality. Universities and government offices were using the network for communicating with colleagues and exchanging data. 1974: Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn publish quot;A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnectionquot;, which specified in detail the design of a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
  36. Whose Standards? Proprietary or Open Standards? Also the fax machine is only useful if many other people have it. Later: If the Internet would have just connected supercomputers, it would have not been as significant.
  37. “The Internet's quot;anarchyquot; may seem strange or even unnatural, but it makes a certain deep and basic sense. It's rather like the quot;anarchyquot; of the English language. Nobody rents English, and nobody owns English. As an English- speaking person, it's up to you to learn how to speak English properly and make whatever use you please of it (though the government provides certain subsidies to help you learn to read and write a bit).” Sterling, Bruce. quot;Short History of the Internet by Bruce Sterling.quot; College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the. 1 Feb 1993. 4 Sep 2007 <>.
  38. The TCP/IP protocol allowed different networks to connect together into one big network - the Inter-net. As the use of TCP/IP became more common, it was difficult to stop people from barging in and linking up somewhere-or-other. The software TCP/IP was public-domain and the basic technology was decentralized and rather anarchic by its very nature.
  39. PowWow Throughout the 1970s Instant Messaging began to appear
  40. 1971
  41. 1971: Ray Tomlinson of BBN creates email program to send messages across a distributed network. 1972: Tomlinson expands program to ARPANET users, using the quot;@quot; sign as part of the address.
  42. Michael Hart 1971. Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Project Gutenberg is the quot;oldest digital library built on volunteer efforts to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works.quot;
  43. 1977
  44. 1977 Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw created the first MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) leading later to MMORPG
  45. 1978
  46. January of 1978, Chicago was hit by CBBS (first BBS) Ward Christensen the Great Blizzard of 1978 Many people did not have the Internet. They dialed in to CBSS directly via modem. Users had to take turns accessing the system, each hanging up when done to let someone else have access. Nevertheless, the system was seen as very useful, and ran for many years and inspired the creation of many other bulletin board systems.
  47. ASCii art on BBS
  48. 1979
  49. Emoticons 1979 Kevin MacKenzie e-mailed his fellow subscribers at MsgGroup, an early Internet bulletin board, with a suggestion to put some emotion back into the dry text medium of e- mail. (The eyes came later.)
  50. USENET established. USENET was a global, decentralized, distributed Internet discussion system that provided mail services and file transfers. Precursor of GoogleGroups and other discussion boards.
  51. Cover of COMPUTER Magazine from September 1979
  52. 1980s
  53. What else did it take to make this WWW thing work? This was the first IBM PC introduced on Aug 12, 1981 Douglas Engelbart
  54. The Well members could start discussion boards: Mid-80s the most popular one was dedicated to computer manufacturers push proprietary protocols, The Grateful Dead. which failed US Government pushed for ISO but TCP/IP was free, more viral In the 1980s the PCs entered homes and offices in the United States.
  55. pre-www The Well members could start discussion boards: the most popular one was dedicated to The Grateful Dead. 1981 BITNET release “Because It’s There” | “Because It’s Time” Ira Fuchs (CUNY) and Greydon Freeman (Yale) Main features: email, LISTSERV BITNET set expectations for free access and openness: it charged by bandwidth. Once you paid for the line, how much you use it was up to you. Others tried to establish a pay by byte system.
  56. 1985 Stewart Brand & Larry Brilliant one of the first community bulletin board systems The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (The Well) Brand used a networked PC on his houseboat in Sasalito, CA, claiming that he did so in order to experience commune living without actually moving into one.
  57. The Well members started many discussion boards. The most popular one was dedicated to The Grateful Dead.
  58. In 1993: The Well as paradigm of ``virtual community'' people meet, collaborate, argue, support each other emotionally
  59. Late-1980s: Networking took first steps outside academia Tom Grundner - prof. family medicine making community health information public founder of the Cleveland Free-Net became National Public Telecomputing Network influential ... community-oriented, free-nets
  60. 1984
  61. Francois Lyotard and Thierry Chaput’s exhibition quot;Les Immateriaux” at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. 30 artists collaboratively respond to 50 terms related the topic of the quot;immaterial.quot; Lyotard and Chaput pointed out that they were mainly interested in the way, in which this collaborative writing changed the experience of the act of writing itself.
  62. 1987
  63. LucasFilm's Habitat early and technologically influential online role-playing game first attempt to monetize a large-scale virtual community
  64. 1989
  66. CERN -- a place where scientist do incomprehensible things with tiny bits of matter out of pure curiosity, a lab specializing in the most esoteric form of research imaginable
  67. The British programmer Tim Berners-Lee, CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project, 1989/90 HTML (HyperText Markup Language) URL (Uniform Resource Locator) HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
  68. ... the WWW as an altruistic, non-proprietary, vendor-neutral contribution to society! Keeping the software free is what allowed the WWW to take off.
  69. 1990
  70. Internet sites in Europe 1990: 30,000 1991: 100,000 1992: 500,000 Cailliau, Robert, and James Gillies. How the Web was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web. p90 New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2000.
  71. ARPANET retired and transferred to the NSFnet (National Science Foundation) that had started in 1988, connecting 250 non-US networks by 1990 Vint Cerf: “Requiem for the ARPANET” “And so, at last, we knew its course had run, Our faithful servant, ARPANET, was done. It was the first, and being the first, as best, But now we lay it down to ever rest.” Cailliau, Robert, and James Gillies. How the Web was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2000.
  72. John Perry Barlow, worked with Grateful Dead, was part of The Well, and co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation with Stuart Brand and Mitch Kapor in 1990, focusing on digital civil liberties.
  73. 1991
  74. August 1991: CERN releases WWW December 1991: 600,000 users connected to Internet
  75. The early nineties were marked by the increasing use of the term quot;social softwarequot; in expert circles and Benjamin Anderson's book quot;Imagined Communi t iesquot;(1991) inspired In t erne t en t husias t s who just started to believe in a world wi t hou t borders. In his book Anderson describes t he na t ion s t a t e as an imagined communi t y t ha t is mainly constructed by print media.
  76. Official policy for the Internet forbid anyone from using the network for personal gain or anything that didn't have a job- related function. In 1991, the NSF allowed commercial use of the Internet, however, for the first time, and in 1995, it decommissioned the backbone, leaving the Internet a self-supporting industry.
  77. Launch of Gopher, the quot;infoserver that can deliver text, graphics, audio, and multimedia to clients.quot; Search and retrieval network protocol designed for the Internet. Its goal is to function as an improved form of Anonymous FTP, with features similar to that of the World Wide Web. The University of Minnesota.
  78. 1992
  79. 1992 Marc Andreessen (b. 1971, 6’4”) undergraduate University of Illinois protocols for the WWW from CERN created more fun and user-friendly graphical interface for PC and Mac. together with other students Andreessen created the Mosaic browser 1994 Andreessen founded Netscape to market it as the university did not approve of commercial spin-off 1.5 years later: 65 million users (see also: Linux) (the most rapidly assimilated product in history)
  80. Brewster Kahle Bruce Gilliat WAIS Incorporated: “It wanted to prove that you could make an Internet company.” After selling WAIS to AOL in May 1995 for $15 million, Kahle and Gilliat founded the Internet Archive and then Alexa Internet. p 136 how the web was born
  82. 1993
  83. For a brief period, gopher and the World Wide Web were competing systems. In 1993, however, CERN projected that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone (no fees). Two months later, Gopher announced that it was no longer free to use, which pushed users away from gopher to the World Wide Web, which experienced a 350% growth rate that year (mainly in US). Gopher WWW public domain for purchase p 279 how the web was born
  84. early versions of Mosaic: collaboration feature to allow annotations, which could be shared with a well-defined team of collaborators 1993 most significant milestone in the popularization of the WWW launch of Mosaic web browser (this was possible because WWW was public domain)
  86. 1994
  87. You can now, finally, order pizza online. Web has a 341,634 % expansion rate in 94 In 2007, one billion people are online.
  88. Woodstock of the Web first web conference at CERN in 1994
  89. 1994 CERN does not sufficiently support WWW. Europe’s bureaucracy makes funding difficult and standards harder to establish. Berners-Lee moves to MIT where he heads the W3 consortium. W3C America W3C Europe 1995 1/5 of all Internet traffic is caused by WWW, taking over ftp’s leading role p 258 How the web was born
  91. 1993 De Digitale Stad (quot;The Digital Cityquot;) launched (De Balie & XS4ALL) publicly accessible (free-net) system goal: bringing politics and citizens together in an online community “a social experiment in Internet freedom“ (Geert Lovink) the attempt of staying independent in an increasingly commercial environment
  92. Justin Hall (b. 1974 in Chicago) is an American freelance journalist who is best known as a pioneer blogger
  93. 1995
  94. Dec 26, 1996 The Thing BBS Feb 08, 2004 The Thing, NYC Wolfgang Staehle
  95. Feb 08, 1999 Founded 1995, First successfully archived: Jan 25, 1999 Online Dating, 15 million users, 37 countries Security breaches Billing scandals Mar 01, 2000
  96. 1996 Wiki Wiki bus at the Honolulu International Airport Ward Cunningham started developing WikiWikiWeb in 1994, and installed it on the Internet in 1995 allowing for the emergence of
  97. users could write reviews and consumer guides, an early form of web-based self- publishing
  98. “Amazon was founded in 1994, spurred by what Jeff Bezos refers to as his quot;regret minimization framework,quot; i.e. his effort to fend off late-in-life regret for not staking a claim in the Internet gold rush.” In 2007, worldwide, Amazon has quot;over 900,000 membersquot; in its affiliate programs (
  100. first archived, Nov 29, 1999 searchable user classifieds, open
  101. Our policies ... taking it personally and very seriously. We take every kind of abuse very seriously, and in every case Craig will contact the abusive party and ask them to cease. dated: 29 December 1999 Craigslist site: first archived, Nov 29, 1999 searchable user classifieds, open
  102. 1995 School, Work, Military Connections
  103. 1996
  104. first archived Apr 08, 2000 1996 Sweden, Denmark, UK teens, tweens open Lunarstorm 1,200,000 users. 2007: closed Social Networking
  105. Manuel Castells (1942) The “most decisive historical factor accelerating, channeling and shaping the information technology paradigm, and inducing its associated social forms, was/is the process of capitalist restructuring undertaken since the 1980s, so that the new techno-economic system can be adequately characterized as informational capitalism” (p18) Castells argued that in contemporary society dominant functions and processes are increasingly organized around networks.
  106. 1997
  107. Rob Malda , aka. CmdrTaco (1976) readers can comment photo:quot;Scott Beale / Laughing Squidquot;
  108. John Barger (1952, blogger, Ohio)
  109. Blogging: the art and science of pointing at each other
  110. blogging: the art and science of pointing at each other Massification of voice
  111. In 1995, the Asian American community site kicked off (without social networking features). First waybackmachine entry for 1998.
  112. Pierre Lévy “Through the intermediary of virtual worlds, we can not only exchange information but think together, share our memories and our plans to produce a cooperative brain.quot; -- Pierre Lévy, from Collective Intelligence In Collective Intelligence, Lévy investigates the affordances of networked sociality
  113. Eric S. Raymond presented his essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar (CatB) at the Linux Kongress in Berlin.
  114. 1997. 2nd largest auction site
  115. 1998
  116. Feb 06, 2007 Jan 25, 1999 Indian social networking site Sulekha was set into motion.
  117. Apr 17, 1999 Sept, 2007 1998. DMOZ, founded as GnuHoo involves geographically dis t ribu t ed individuals t o evalua t e websi t es, crea t ing a user- powered search engine.
  118. 1999
  119. 2dnhmy May 10, 2000
  120. Relational Aesthetics Nicolas Bourriaud engages with the possibility of quot;relational artquot; based on the practices of artists who became visible during the 1990s.
  121. Peter Hoschka introduces the term Social Web, Peter Merholz coined the term “blog,” and Rusty Foster (below) created Kuro5hin. a collaborative weblog where users vote for what goes to the front page
  122. Shawn quot;Napsterquot; Fanning (b. 1980) the 18-year-old college student whose school nickname was quot;Napster,quot; along with his friend Sean Parker first released the original Napster on June 1, 1999. Napster was the first popular peer-to-peer file sharing platform.
  123. Oct 11, 1999 African-Americans, 16,000,000 users (2007)
  124. Pyra Labs creates
  125. 2000
  126. Commercially the Internet started to catch on in 1995 with an estimated 18 million users. This untapped international market made speculators ecstatic about the “new economy.”
  127. too much too fast
  128. To whom do we owe most innovation on the Social Web? (Where are the women?)
  129. Yahoo Google
  130. Paypal YouTube Facebook Slashdot photo:quot;Scott Beale / Laughing Squidquot;
  131. Conclusion Part1
  132. While the Social Web is available worldwide, sites like Piczo, Orkut, Fotolog, or Faceparty attract a majority of members in particular geographic regions and of a specific age group. People want to be where many other people are. Expectations were shaped by early free and openly accessible software. The rich get richer Young innovators (often still in college or barely graduated and mostly white and male) create commercial software and then join up with large capital to facilitate large-scale sociality. The WWW started up mainly on European ideas, but was exploited best in the US. Silos everywhere Interoperability through openID and (prod/users want content export features free-range data) as competitive edge Prod/users want control over their content their contacts Permanently beta Research out of pure curiosity led to Internet
  133. - end part1 - please direct comments, additions, etc to