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.
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.
What am I funding?
Several supporters requested that I setup a Patreon—so here we are. I'm very thankful to all who want to express their appreciation for the project in this way.
I've spent countless hours on this project since it's launch in 2010—reading archives, annotating messages (and images), and making everything available widely (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr).
Please know that the project is sporadic (due to other responsibilities) but it is a lifetime pursuit. I consider it my most important work and am truly happy that it resonates with so many of you.
Whether you donate or simply enjoy reading WWWTXT, I thank you.
Daniel Rehn (2017)