A 1992 Take on the Birth of Social Networking

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

A segment from the 1992 documentary series The Machine that Changed the World, produced by WGBH and the BBC, looks at the early social web and its implications. An engineer from AT&T's Bell Labs, Robert Lucky, describes the new feeling of being connected: 

One of the things that's happening is the disappearance of place as an attribute. What someone has said is the 'passing of remoteness.' You know you're no longer remote. When I'm sitting at home in front of my terminal I'm connected. I'm plugged into the world.

Tech 2020

In addition to prescient observations about how technology would change finance, education, and social life, the series includes some charming vintage motion graphics. It's a fascinating time capsule of how we were beginning to think about the Information Age in 1992. The entire series can be viewed at the Internet Archive.

To watch the series in its entirety, visit the Internet Archive. 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2011/09/a-1992-take-on-the-birth-of-social-networking/245313/