I was DISTINCTLY TOLD, in the 1990s, that if we put computers into all the things it would make us all super-smart and super-sexy and super-kind and we would all live in houses made of translucent plastic and acid dance and rainforests and we would specifically NOT become a society of giant raging dumbass jerks selling fake nutritional supplements to Nazis.

There were RECEIPTS. Money changed HANDS.

I wish to complain to the MANAGEMENT.

@natecull My mentor in graduate school once wrote a book that expounded the former.

He now writes books mostly about how money and technology have formed an unholy marriage that is ruining the whole world. He's the most gentle and kind and wonderful human, and the most heartbroken person I know, because not only did he believe, he was one of the *prophets*.

@TheGibson @natecull Yeah, but not all of us published books and built our public reputation and our writing and teaching careers on it. I was a proselytizer, but he was John the bloody Baptist.

@natecull @TheGibson Maybe? Probably, if you remember the 90s the way I do. 💖

His name is Douglas Rushkoff.

@SuzanEraslan @thegibson

omg Yes I remember him. Not personally, but he was out there with William Gibson, Douglas Coupland, Ray Kurzweil, and the ghost of Timothy Leary

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberia_

@SuzanEraslan @thegibson

Those were the BBS years for me. Just getting plugged into Usenet. the Web still only a faint a glimmer on my horizon.

@SuzanEraslan @thegibson

<<a very special moment in our recent history – a moment when anything seemed possible. When an entire subculture – like a kid at a rave trying virtual reality for the first time – saw the wild potentials of marrying the latest computer technologies with the most intimately held dreams and the most ancient spiritual truths. It is a moment that predates America Online, twenty million Internet subscribers, Wired magazine, Bill Clinton, and the information superhighway.>>

@SuzanEraslan @thegibson

<<Rushkoff's first book was originally penned in 1992 but was not published until 1994 due to publisher concerns that electronic mail and the Internet were still obscure topics unlikely to gain traction.>>

lol

@natecull @TheGibson Oh, if only they hadn't, and it was still just a bunch of us dorks on BBS and chat rooms making friends all over the world.

@SuzanEraslan @natecull

Um... at the risk of taking the cyber-shaman thing too far...

Is that not what we are doing right now?

I believe the fediverse to be the cure to the missing future we once envisioned.

Given time, we could have the simple good we had hoped for.

@TheGibson @natecull Yeah, I mean, I've been on Mastodon for about a year and a half, and it often still feels like that first breath of potential and connection and the kind of globalism that's about knowing people all over the world instead of exploiting people all over the world. The global village, instead of the global factory, if you will.

As the fediverse expands, though, I've felt the tremors of the other internet, like thunder you can't hear yet but can feel, and it makes me nervous.

@SuzanEraslan @natecull

Same.

But I think that we may have to keep moving to the edge to keep our fediverse what it is... in fact it's no different than what we've always done... we just got lost in the homogenization for a while there.

@TheGibson @natecull Yeah, that's definitely one of the things that I really missed about the old days, is that we weren't all on the same networks, even if we were on the same platforms (BBS, IRC, the Geocities javascript chat rooms where I *really* discovered my people)-- there were divisions and neighborhoods and cultures that sprung up, and it wasn't that you were keeping other people out, it's that you were keeping your people in.

Imagine if everyone had been on the same IRC channel?!

@SuzanEraslan @natecull I've run into a few people out here that I knew back then...#irc folk.

Small world when you run in these circles.

@TheGibson @natecull I haven't, yet, except for my best meat space friend who was on those old channels. Which surprises me, in some ways, but doesn't in others, because, for the most part, even though we sent each other snail mail and physical photos and exchanged comic books and the like... I didn't actually *know most of their names.* But I can reel off their handles to this day, and it's been 20+ years.

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@SuzanEraslan @thegibson

It was around 1999 that I logged into the Interactive Fiction MUD and met the circle of wonderful folks there (Emily Short and others) and for nearly a decade that was my spiritual home.

It was a haven on the Internet and one of the reasons was that it used old technology so there was a sort of a built-in wall against spammers and abuse.

The door was always open, but to want to get in you had to *care*. And then you picked up the culture, which was kind.

@natecull @TheGibson Yeah, that's the thing I LOVE about and am fiercely defensive of on Mastodon. The culture is defended by practicing it daily, and encouraging those who are new to practice it, too.

That *does* happen on those other sites, but the culture is toxic and destructive, but wow, are you "rewarded" for falling in line with it.

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