On 04/16/2014 05:33 AM, David Weinshenker wrote:
> not one post since november last
> year... i guess it had to happen
> sometime but it's hard to let it
> go without one last forlorn ping
Copied and edited from another forum (with permission):
> Scene: a large dark deserted space, could be a cave or maybe an
> airplane hangar - hard to tell in the gloom. Voices and steps
> DP: A grandfather, late 60's - early 70's, and grandchild, 12-ish.
> GC: Gee, Grandpa, this place is really spooky. I don't really like
> it here.
> GF: I know, Timmy, I know. It's spooky all right but not dangerous,
> and I thought it would be important for you to see it before it gets
> torn down. It's really a piece of history.
> GC: History of what?
> GF: Well, it belongs to the history of bisexuality. And maybe to the
> history of computers and what they call "social networking" now.
> GC: ... you mean like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and ...
> GF: Exactly - all those things.
> GC: What's the name of the place?
> GF: It's called soc.bi
, Timmy. (Chuckles) We were never sure how to
> pronounce it - some folks said sock-bye, some folks said soash-bye.
> Funny that I think of it now and realize that you really never had to
> know how to say it.
> GC: What did they do in this soc.bi
> GF: It was like a place where people who were bisexual exchanged
> ideas. Somebody would introduce a topic and other folks would say
> things about it. All text, no character limits, but no pictures or
> attachments or anything like that. If you had something to say, you
> sent a message to a server, and then the program in charge of the
> computer in charge of that place would send your message to all the
> other computers so it went to everybody else. Once you sent it,
> everybody else could see it.
> GC: Wow! No privacy allowed? Yikes!
> GF: No privacy, Timmy. Even if you made a mistake and thought you
> were sending a message just to one person, once the computer saw the
> group address, everybody got a copy. The system just did what it had
> been programmed to do. Why, I remember once ...
> GC: (interrupting excitedly) I guess my eyes are getting used to the
> dark - I thought I saw some pictures on the far wall there.
> GF: Sorry, son - just a trick of the light. Nobody on soc.bi
> any idea what anyone else looked like. You know that great cartoon of
> years back - "On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog!"?
> GC: No ... (unsurely) What would a dog be doing on the Internet?
> GF: Uh ... probably nothing. It was just a cartoon. The idea was that
> you could be anybody and - at least back then - nobody else cared. If
> there were a hundred other people posting on soc.bi
, I knew what
> maybe five of them looked like. And I didn't know the birthdays or
> favorite colors or favorite donuts of any of them, and I didn't
> GC: So all you did was send messages around and other people would
> send messages to comment on each other's messages?
> GF: Yeah, you got it.
> GC: Sorry, Grandad - that sounds like really boring. I mean, you had
> to read stuff, no videos, no sound bytes ... no wonder this place is
> GF: The funny thing is that it lasted as long as it did. A lot of
> people liked the fact that they could be dogs.
> GC: There are loads of dogs and cats - especially cats - on the
> internet now. Did soc.bi
have cats? Kittens in toilet bowls are my
> favorites ...
> GF: (perceiving that metaphor isn't working too well) Not that I
> know of. I think it was mostly about people, from all over the
> world, just a couple of mouse clicks away from talking to other
> people. No identity theft, no data trawling, no pop-up ads. We could
> carry on the weirdest discussions and have the nastiest arguments and
> nobody else cared. The people who knew how it all worked set up a few
> rules, everybody mostly followed them, and that was it. Say something
> brilliant, say something stupid, then sit back and watch the
> GC: Do you miss it, Grandpa? I mean ... sounds like fun, like if
> you're old and stuff.
> GF: I guess I do miss it, Timmy. It would be fun if we could get
> some life back in this old building, but I don't know. Might be too
> much going on in the real world now ... all kinds of websites
> talking about the same things we soc.bi
people talked about. They
> probably reach a lot more people than we ever did, provide a lot more
> tools to work with. Heck, some of them have their own apps!
> GC: (after a pause) I can tell it wouldn't be the same for you.
> GF: You're probably right, as usual. (turning to leave) Well, that's
> it. Like I said, I wanted you to see it before it disappeared
> GC: Thanks, Grandad. (takes one last look over shoulder) Doesn't
> seem as scary in here now, only kind of sad.
[Thanks to Bill Black]