In 1995, commercialization, a swelling population, and the multimedia revolution began to shape Web 1.0 and the modern Internet. 1980–94 represent the final years of a much smaller, non-commercial, and text-dominated Internet.

The users of this era were not only programmers, physicists, and university residents—they were also tinkerers, early-adopters, whiz kids, and nerds. Their conversations and documents—valiantly preserved by digital archivists—are fractured across numerous services, increasingly offline-only, and incredibly voluminous (100GB+).

wwwtxt digs deep and resurrects the voices of these digital pioneers as unedited, compelling, and insightful 140-character excerpts.

Who are you?  And why do this?

I’m Daniel Rehn—an electronic artist, researcher, and media archaeologist—you can learn more about me at my website.

There are several reasons I curate these texts, notably:

  • to shed light on a moment of great importance experienced by relatively few
  • to revisit a place that I knew well in my youth with an analytical mind
  • to draw parallels between the (online) society of the past and today
  • to trace and document the origins of net culture

What are your sources?

Primary sources include: discussion groups on Usenet, BBS-based FidoNet, and the initial online services (CompuServe, GEnie, Prodigy, AOL); both public and private text files; early hypertexts of Gopher/WWW; and abandoned personal documents.

Some messages are modified for length and clarity, but the original author’s intention is always maintained.

Icons ©95–01
The Iconfactory.

Notes, posted