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Long Before The WELL, There Was PLATO
It's a never-ending job, contacting journalists who publish articles having to do with the origins of online communities, social media, multiplayer games, et cetera, but somebody's gotta do it.
Today's articles come from Don Clark, a Wall Street Journal reporter, who wrote a story about The WELL's twenty-fith anniversary ("Long Before Facebook, There Was The WELL") and a corresponding blog post ("Real Tales from a Virtual Place Called The WELL").
The biggest howler was a quote from Larry Brilliant: "It was clearly the first social network." Larry, let me say that as a WELL user myself since 1986 and a PLATO user since 1979, I must tell you that you're dead wrong. On multiple levels, if we want to get really technical about it. And it's a shame Don didn't catch the error(s) and set the proper context for readers. Instead readers are left with a continuation of the myths about all things Internet post- and pre-.
Have no fear, I've contacted Mr. Clark. Gave him some background, invited him to the PLATO @ 50 Conference. Hope to hear from him soon.