Excellent thread. Thank you for making it as it really made me think about what happened from the 'good-ol cow boy' days to where we are today with
I've been dabbling or at least have touched on everything you have in the OP (IRC/ftp/usenet/*nix systems).
I also have some of my own thoughts to add onto this thread as to WHY the internet is what it is today, how it evolved to get here.
First the easy and short stuff, then onto the evolution!
IRC is still around and kickin'. Some major networks might have been DDoS'd a bunch years back but they are still around. They did lose a huge chunk
of their userbase due to these attacks but they still exist.
Althouh using 'alternative' operating systems like FreeBSD is great, think of the average user. It would be like them learning mandarin chinese
Perhaps for the more tech-savvy person Ubuntu linux would be a good OS to start out with. It runs on pretty much everything and it's easy to use.
I'm guessing many people who were interested in computers back in the day ended up on some sort of *Nix system, and stumbled upon irc because of it
to find user support.
Lets get onto the evolution part.
Think of TV. Back when they first came out, the picture was black and white (think: text-only, with ASCII art
) and the programming was limited
(few resources to access compared to today, although probably better in quality)
Today it's 3-dimensional, 5.1 surround sound imax experience with non-stop action/drama to keep the brain occupied the entire time. This is what our
society has become from all the advertising and always trying to make a more flashy product or way of luring people in.
That's why myspace became so popular. Everyone was on it. Then facebook was easier to use so people started to migrate to that. But our attention
spans became too short, so twitter with its 140 character max limit is all the new rage. Next we're going to just post pictures about stuff
everywhere... oh wait.
Also there are a ton more people on the internet today, than there were 20 years ago. Even 4 year olds are accessing the internet in some way, while
for me I haven't really had the chance to "go online" until in the 6th grade and that was only at school for limited periods of time as it cost $
per minute of usage.
Combine this with the flashy trends and you have a dumbed down userbase that wouldn't care to learn something like irc or unix because it's too
tedious, takes too much time to read about and it's not point-click-and it's done.
I can see where you are coming from though. It seems whenever something like facebook or twitter becomes big enough, they start acting like any other
massive corporation and start to censor things. I assume this is to protect themselves from a lawsuit though. It is really sad that for some people a
handful of different sites is the entire internet (or just websites only), kind of like when people were on AOL they didn't really venture outside of
what AOL was providing them. Those internet URL pages were said to be harmful. Not FDA approved. Don't use it.
These major sites with concentrated information / networking are also collecting all this data on you so privacy and anonymity is out the window as
A lot of times I wish we could go back to text based websites, with a few flashy .gifs here and there. ahh the good old days.
Usenet you say? I should get back into that.
Welp I'm going to sleep. Too tired to post more, and this is the second time I'm writing this as the first time the browser accidentally went
back a page and I lost the original text.