My father had a PC with Win3.11 where young me was allowed to play solitaire and an educational programs for kids, later on, followed Win98. I was fascinated with this big grey boxes which could do so many things, especially connect you to the Internet where you could find knowledge about EVERYTHING. (Someone remember the "Blinde Kuh" search engine?)

I remember my father connecting the modem with a long cable all the way through several rooms to the TAE-outlet and the weird sounds the device made.

I often heard "Get away from the PC or your eyes will become rectangular!" when I was sitting there for hours over hours reading and playing.

When I was ten, I got my first own computer, a trusty 486er (386 with logical coprocessor! 8MB RAM if I remember correctly. Weeee! :D) which was my uncle's old PC with Win95.
I started writing on the PC and got into several online communities ... it went downhill from there. :D

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    Sounds like we may be in similar ball parks here... I was a little late getting my own PC, we were poor... But before that I was always figuring how to exploit school and friends PCs and playing games on those old Atari computers. There was a Apple computer in my art class and it seems like a super computer compared to the dos machines in the rest of the school. So anyways, I became the kid everyone called to fix the computers before I even owned one (or the kid they suspected when questionable things happened ha). When my dad finally worked enough overtime to get us a PC it was 133mhz but it felt cutting edge ATM (it kind of was). The internet felt so huge on one hand, even then, but looking back it felt like a small community. I remember running across people in different chats, IRC servers etc. That almost never happens now unless it's a specific community. I miss the 'realness' of the internet community back then... Modern social tools don't capture that time at all, ya know?
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    That's a cool story, too. :)
    We didn't have computers in school until I was in ... fifth grade (?) and even then they weren't really accessible. And they ran ... DOS? (I'm not quite sure.)

    But yeah, absolutely. I'm aware of the fallacies of nostalgia, but I do miss talking to "authentic" people to whom you felt closer than to nowadays through social stuff. (More so, I don't know whether today's tools are really meant for talking with people, it sometimes feels more like saying things and then shoving them in each others face, more or less friendly.)
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    Yes, I agree completely! I think it's more than nostalgia though... Up until the time around myspace's popularity there really seemed to be more feeling of being connected to the people we interacted with. I think in the way myspace, and later Facebook, have over-saturated connectedness, they've made the whole experience of 'connecting' feel more like a commercialized proposition and less... authentic? I don't know that I'm conveying my thoughts accurately here, it's kind of an abstract thing, but I do believe it is something other than just nostalgia. I think maybe you will get what I'm tryinh to say, though. ;) :P
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    Even more isolated communities are nothing like they were back then... DeviantArt for an example. Also how the idea 'chatting' just kind of faded out of style (as you also made note of). Is narsicism really that much of an epidemic that we can only talk 'at' people we call 'followers' now? Like we are all tiny little dictators, haha. I miss the days of 'chatting', and that is nostalgia... But even the few existing chat sources have changed in real ways. That's why I don't think it *just* nostalgia we are pointing at here. Even IRC doesn't feel so much like a chat platform, as a place for a few to speak to the many. I just kind of find this interesting from a social evolution stand-point. Are evolving to need one-to-one less? Are we moving towards hive mind? Haha. I just find it fun to contemplate, and it's nice to find someone to contemplate these things with. I suppose that is a bit ironic :)
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    Blinde Kuh is actually still up!
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    @agaskins Yes! Imho Facebook and all the other networks try to shape the way we "befriend" people which seems to me at least ethical questionable. We provide the content (or choose not to, for that matter) but the way we are able to communicate is defined by the platform.

    I think chatting has migrated from the desktops to the mobile devices, to the messengers - not all is lost.
    But I agree with you on the changes in online communities and IRC. I had this thought also - what the hell are we trying to do here?
    Humans are social animals who tend to feel well in groups, but this "hyper-connectedness" is well beyond the interaction you normally would have with people you don't know well/not at all.
    It's like the more we become individuals the more we try to form ... idk what. I like the idea of a hive-mind. (Resistance is futile. :>)

    And yes, I like contemplating on that, too. Most people I know either don't care or are far too positive about all of this.
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    @PrivateGER I didn't check! Wow! :)
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    @nin0x03 I think the most interesting part of this is that blury place where words seem to fail us both when we approach it. Maybe the next paradigm shift in human creativity lies there... We gathered around the fires, then we gathered around the terminals, what might that thing we can only point at hold in store? Or maybe we could move the variable to the other side of the equation by adding the assumption that maybe if it is a hive mind (I don't necessarily believe that or not, but for the sake of thought games), then what might the fire/terminal be now? I find the sorts of feedback loops being created by ML algorithms and how we use them. like how YouTube is possibly making people's views more racist and polarized as they watched Donald Trump's videos where the algorithms suggest more extreme versions of the ideas until just a couple of clicks on suggestions and you are watching neo-nazi vids. I find these feedback loops very interesting. Maybe unrelated, maybe not...
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    @nin0x03 I ran out of space, but also I wanted to say that I appreciate you taking the time to write and engaging in the conversation I derailed from the original topic, ha. I like your thoughts on the subject. :)
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    @agaskins Ha, I like the picture of gathering round terminals. (Cyberpunk-y! :D)
    But yeah, even then it bears the question if we will recognize the new fires soon or if it's only in retrospective that we'll be aware of what we were gathering round. ML looks quite promising, however it'll probably take some time until I'd seriously consider it.

    I think the feedback loop algorithms are similar in what they do: to a certain aspect all the networks offer just a lot of "unconscious self-manipulation" - if I'm not exaggerating - which can also be quite comforting. "If you liked $x you also might like $y ..." and it's up to oneself to reflect on whether one wants to identify with an opinion/ideology or if they slowly feel a certain cognitive dissonance rising in seeing even more extreme ideas. Or is it?

    Likewise - I was wondering how you got there from my faint memories of my childhood's internet, but this took an interesting turn. :)
    Feel free to add more thoughts. :D
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