Social Media Museum

The history of social media

Category Archive : 1980s

Tim Berners-Lee works on the WWW

At the Swiss CERN Institute, Tim Berners-Lee worked on the WWW as we know it today - initially a research network, since the early 1990s what many now call "The Internet".


The idea of a chat network emerges in BITNET under the name of Relay Chat. The Finnish student Jarkko Oikarinen transfers this system to the Internet in the summer of 1988.


Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant found The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) as a bulletin board system.


FidoNet comes into being when BBSs in North America and later internationally begin to exchange electronic messages. Since long distance and international phone calls in particular were very expensive, a lot of creative energy was spent on achieving fast and effective distribution of messages and files to all connected systems with as few and as short connections as possible at times of day with low charges. In its heyday around 1990, FidoNet was not the only organised network of privately operated mailboxes, but it was by far the most popular worldwide. There were no e-mails on FidoNet, but something similar: there were Echomails, i.e. messages that all members of the respective Echo could read. And then there were Netmails, which only went directly to a single recipient - in other words, what would be somewhat comparable to an e-mail.