AOL vs. Facebook

Posted by: NW Ponderer

AOL vs. Facebook - 01/30/19 07:13 PM

I had an interesting argument with my son, this morning. We were talking about social media trends, like Vine, Reddit, ticktock, and social media "platforms" like Instagram, Twitter, and, of course, Facebook. I opined that AOL was really the original "social media platform" for people of my generation, and he vehemently disagrees. I'm trying to understand his argument, which, I think, is essentially that AOL was a "closed system", rather than "out on the internet" for anyone to see. I disagree with the distinction, but I'm interested in other people's views.

What do y'all think?
Posted by: Jeffery J. Haas

Re: AOL vs. Facebook - 01/30/19 11:19 PM

It pretty much WAS the original "walled garden".
In fact, AOL originally entertained options to try to charge extra for access to "internet" URL's outside the AOL system because some in the hierarchy felt that AOL was more important than "the internet" for all but a few "power users".

Numerous ISP's have tried the same or similar methods throughout the years. Australia's Telstra used to charge exorbitant metered bandwidth fees for anything outside of the Telstra "garden".

As long as one stayed within the curated boundaries of Telstra, it was free.

The original AOL "chat rooms" could be argued to be an original social media platform, I suppose. But that is because anyone could install AOL's AIM messenger app without being an AOL subscriber.

The most hilarious display of AOL being tone deaf to the prevailing winds was when they announced that they were really "a content provider" more than an ISP. Yeah really, because clinging to that sad old dialup was sooooo lucrative, LOL.
And everyone couldn't wait to gobble up all that "great AOL content" hahahaha.
Posted by: Greger

Re: AOL vs. Facebook - 01/31/19 03:52 AM

AOL was the primordial goo from which everything else sprang.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: AOL vs. Facebook - 02/02/19 07:04 AM

Actually, dialup BBS systems existed well before AOL and offered chat-room capability. Content providers existed in the days of ARPANET but were only available to a very limited few users. As soon as the internet became available, USENET offered users thousands of topic threads in which they could make posts to share with other users. Email was started back in ARPANET days.

AOL just integrated content provision for browsers (http), email, and user posting chat rooms accessed via the same browser, but it was much more limited than USENET. Less confusing too, I suppose, but USENET and email were very simple to use. In fact, USENET and email servers all still respond to simple English text commands. All email and USENET client programs just provide a pretty graphical front-end but communicate with their servers using the text commands!