en you think about early Internet users, do you picture French people trying to find love and teens in after-school programs? Kevin Driscoll joins us for this edition of our history series “How They Imagined the Internet” to tell us about France’s nation-wide public Internet that ran for decades and how BBS laid the groundwork for the web to be a social place.
How did hippies living on communes help create the Internet? Is Mark Zuckerberg today’s PT Barnum? What can we learn from 17th Century Protestantism about inequality in Silicon Valley? Fred Turner, perhaps the definitive historian of the Internet and counterculture, joins us for a thrilling conversation about how we need to shake post-WWII politics to make not just a better Internet, but a better world.
For links to projects mentioned and a full transcript of this episode, please visit https://publicinfrastructure.org/podcast/47-fred-turner
1. Communes were insular, and so was the first Internet community created by back-to-land hippies.
2. Silicon Valley’s cult of personality follows from Protestants’ belief that wealth is a sign of godliness.
3. “Seeing Silicon Valley” documents the inequality that fuels tech with portraits of the rich and poor.
4. We need to reckon with issues of class that started during the Vietnam War.
5. Institutions that bring people to come together despite identity and ideology differences are crucial.
Well before Facebook achieved social media dominance, Black Planet was the online home to millions of Black Americans. The site’s founder Omar Wasow joins us to talk about why it was so important to create an online space for Black people, and what a next generation of the Internet might look like for such communities.