I once had an acquaintance who had a saying: “right click, refresh”. This was around 2003 or 2004, maybe even earlier. It was before flat screen monitors were common, when they were still expensive, back when we all used to have big white PC towers, hand built by friends and full of pirate software and hooky operating systems. It was like that then, we all did it, it was the gateway into computing. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that without the army of clever people, mainly men, who could hack software and build PCs from nothing, who could create ThinApps and Keygen programs, the digital revolution would never have happened. That stuff was going on all round the globe, we all did it. Hardly anyone actually bought their computers ready made in those days, only really well off people or corporate people did that.
So in those days we had PC based games (Eradicator! Doom!) and we had creative software like Photoshop or 3D modelling, we had a whole bunch of boring but useful Microsoft programs, website coding apps like early Dreamweaver (WebWeaver) or FrontPage, we had music software and sequencing and wotnot, and and we had the internet, with 2mb maximum pipe or dial up. But everyone was on the internet, all the time. MMOG hadn’t really been invented, but online chat and social communities had: Deviant Art, or Myspace, Friends Reunited or the NME forums, or Reddit, 4Chan and Warez.
And yet, there wasn’t much to do. We got bored. We would sit in front of the big fat monitors we had and right click/refresh with the mouse on the desktop. Nothing to do. We wanted to be on the internet, we wanted to be at this thing, the computer. But we got bored.
And then along came proper social media. Facebook.
That’s when we stopped being bored. That’s what Facebook got right at just the right time, it captured all of us who were bored but wanted to be on the computer. So around 2004 or 2005, people logged into Facebook. The world changed simply because someone thought of the best way to capture our boredom.
[Img: CC0 public domain]