Back in January of 1994, Dave Fischer coined the idea of the "September that never ended." Basically, it referred to the influx of new Usenet users that came to college every September, and had to acclimate to how one conducts themselves on the 'net. The 1993-94 school year was the first year that Internet access really caught on globally. It was also my freshman year at Michigan Tech University, so I was a founding member of the Long September.
For over a decade, the geeks of the Internet have happily been communicating in a way that was never before possible. Dial in BBS's transitioned to Telnet based "talkers", the passive Usenet complimented the realtime IRC, and the one-way information superhighway (uh, the web) was offset by the two-way email. The real, large scale group communication was kept to things like IRC and Usenet. As geeks of the 90s, we owned barrier free communication. The Internet bridged the gaps between ethnic and geographic differences. Men and women were on equal footings. Intelligent teens could be respected by their knowledge and insight rather than the length of time since their birth. It was awesome.
Now, it's September all over again. I don't mean that derogatorily, because after all I'm a poster child for Endless September Part One. Now, however, the online communication has a different look. Instead of IRC and Usenet, it's Facebook and Twitter. Instead of sharing ASCII art, we're sharing video. Instead of communicating for communication's sake, we're communicating for collaboration on real life things.
15 years on, the Internet is still all about information and communication. We recently started communicating in a whole new way. It's new. It's exciting. It's still far from perfect. I have no idea what it's going to be like in another 15 years, but I'm sure glad I to be a part of the process.
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