It was, in effect, a breeding ground for pocket-protector-wearing societal rejects, or nerds. Yet it also was during this time, and with a parade of purportedly antisocial geeks at the helm, that the very gregarious notion of social networking would take its first steps towards becoming the omnipresent cultural phenomenon we know and love in 2014. Short for Bulletin Board System, these online meeting places were effectively independently-produced hunks of code that allowed users to communicate with a central system where they could download files or games (many times including pirated software) and post messages to other users.

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Its founders worked the six degrees angle hard by encouraging members to bring more people into the fold.

Unfortunately, this “encouragement” ultimately became a bit too pushy for many, and the site slowly devolved into a loose association of computer users and numerous complaints of spam-filled membership drives.

Yet there was no stopping the real Internet, and by the mid-1990s it was moving full bore.

Yahoo had just set up shop, Amazon had just begun selling books, and the race to get a PC in every household was on.

Learn more about how transgender public figures, including Chelsea Manning, Jen Richards, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, and others are shaping and pushing forward the agenda of the LGBT rights movement.

Long before it became the commercialized mass information and entertainment juggernaut it is today, long before it was accessible to the general public, and certainly many years before Al Gore claimed he “took the initiative in creating” it, the Internet – and its predecessors – were a focal point for social interactivity.

Within a year after its launch, Friendster boasted more than three million registered users and a ton of investment interest.

Unfortunately, the service has since seen more than its fair share of technical difficulties, questionable management decisions, and a resulting drop in its North American fortunes.

” but rather, “Who can I connect with that was once a schoolmate of mine?