I still remember when one of USENET’s biggest gripes was the influx of users from AOL. As a shared space (or spaces) of communication, USENET had its own parlance and etiquette and suddenly
all of these new users were invading and ignoring all of the informal rules that had helped make the different groups fun and interesting. This was not the fault of the AOL users. They didn’t know.
All they knew is that the walls were down and they were free to roam.
They understood the Internet from an AOL perspective: capital exchange. They were Internet consumers. They wanted what AOL sold them: access. They paid a fee and they were provided service and
access to a ton of stuff. It didn’t matter who created the stuff or the networks that had come together to share and build the stuff. They paid money to AOL and they wanted their stuff. They got it, too.
USENET still exists, today. I check in every few months or so more out of a sad sense of diligence than anything else. The vibrant nature of the forum (in areas that I know of, at least) has all but
Then again, so, too, has AOL.