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Though differing from many current social networking sites in that it asks not “Who can I connect with?” but rather, “Who can I connect with that was once a schoolmate of mine?Unfortunately, this “encouragement” ultimately became a bit too pushy for many, and the site slowly devolved into a loose association of computer users and numerous complaints of spam-filled membership drives.Six folded completely just after the turn of the millennium.
An interface that shared many of the same traits one would find at an online dating site certainly didn’t seem to hurt.
And voila, just like that, suddenly the antisocial had become social. Though the technology of the time restricted the flexibility of these systems, and the end-user’s experience, to text-only exchanges of data that crawled along at glacial speed, BBSes continued to gain popularity throughout the ‘80s and well into the ‘90s, when the Internet truly kicked into gear.
Indeed, some services – such as Tom Jennings’ Fido Net – linked numerous BBSes together into worldwide computer networks that managed to survive the Internet revolution.
It was a hit almost immediately, and even today the service boasts some 57 million registered accounts. Sporting a name based on the theory somehow associated with actor Kevin Bacon that no person is separated by more than six degrees from another, the site sprung up in 1997 and was one of the very first to allow its users to create profiles, invite friends, organize groups, and surf other user profiles.
Its founders worked the six degrees angle hard by encouraging members to bring more people into the fold.
Compu Serve allowed members to share files and access news and events.