From the Vaults: Internet Love Before The ACB

So here’s a fun one from the Argus archives.

Way back in 1995, long before the ACB became the internet tool of choice for  seeking companionship (see: crush list, Wescam, a billion and one hookup threads), there was the internet. You know—email. Chat rooms. Other novel innovations of the mid-’90s internet boom, particularly among college-aged demographics. As former Argus editor-in-chief Sumi Abeysekera writes in an amusingly dated 1995 article entitled “E-Mailers Get Hooked-Up over the Internet”:

The internet, while a very functional mode of communication in terms of accessibility and economy, threatens to wipe out not only the hand-written letter but the agonizing blind date.

“Meeting people over the computer is the ’90s equivalent of getting set up on a date,” concurs Greg Beetle ’97 in the article, processing the realities of new mass communication technology and the implications it could have on students’ love lives, at Wes and beyond. Then there’s the case of Stacy___ ’97, who did not meet her longterm boyfriend over the internet but does get “sex through e-mail,” whatever that means. There was even a student-written play in the spring of ’95 entitled “E-Love,” portraying a couple who met via the internet. And all this before Facebook or eHarmony or J-Date or whatever.

Whatever your relationship (or lack thereof) with internet dating, the article provides an insightful glimpse into Wes students a generation past, suddenly grappling with the social implications of the excitingly new interwebs. Certainly the author is right to suspect that the internet would open up entirely new venues for potential couples to meet and connect—but wrong to presume that these avenues would permanently replace traditional face-to-face interactions.  Read the first few paragraphs here and the rest of the piece here (zoom in, sorry if you have to squint a bit). And while you’re at it, don’t miss this April, 1996 spotlight on students’ relationships with the internet.  More Wes history posts coming soon.

3 thoughts on “From the Vaults: Internet Love Before The ACB

  1. Jabba

    It’s amazing how little this has changed and how much they had this figured out. Also, I’m really curious as to what a “talk” message is.

    1. Anonymous

      More than likely it’s a message sent using “talk”:

      XXXXX@condor.wesleyan.edu:~$ man talk

      TALK(1) BSD General Commands Manual TALK(1)

      NAME
      talk — talk to another user

      SYNOPSIS
      talk person [ttyname]

      DESCRIPTION
      Talk is a visual communication program which copies lines from your ter-
      minal to that of another user.

  2. Jabba

    It’s amazing how little this has changed and how much they had this figured out. Also, I’m really curious as to what a “talk” message is.

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