Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bad words, bad!!

The Internet has come a long way since it was made "available" for general public consumption. Believe it or not, there was life and communications and a LOT of fun, long before the Internet.

Back in the BBS days (no... it doesn't mean 'bunch of bull".. it means Bulletin Board System) of dial up modems, many systems existed where you could dial in, and be a part of a live group of participants. BBS systems were expensive to maintain, because you needed a dedicated modem and phone line for each connection you wanted to make. Here in Edmonton, there were systems that had 16 or more lines, allowing for some pretty fun stuff to happen.

There were "tele-conferences", where you could enter a chat room... full of people and full of "action" commands. These commands would allow you to do simple one word actions, that would cause a full string of (often visually colorful) words to be presented to everyone, often directed with the names of the sender and (optional) intended receiver. A few examples might be "hug" or "smack", which could expand out to be words such as "Person A just gave a great big hug to Person B" or "Person A is looking to smack someone upside the head!". The text sent out was often colorized, making the atmosphere a lot more fun for the people participating.

Many "modules" existed as well, so people could do e-mail, subscribe to "lists" of information servers, even play assorted Dungeons and Dragons types of games. Take my word, the types of things you could do at the time was pretty impressive, IF the SYSOP (system operator) of the board could afford to purchase the modules.

And yes... just like the Internet of today... back then the "sexual" comments would be flying. Albeit most of the BBS systems were certainly "clean" in nature, the concept of meeting people for sex, existed back then just as much as it does today.

Most people would take the comments in stride, and often answer back with cute sayings... most people didn't take offense because all of the discussions were generally out in the open.Although I am sure some people did "hook up" (probably just as they do today), it wasn't the nature of the beast to JUST be sex. There was SO much more going on. Even to the point where people from all over the world would get together at various locations and camp outs, just to meet other people. Yes.. I said ALL over the world.

One of THE most common phrases back in the good old days was "Don't worry, I have a condom on my modem for safe modem sex". You had to be there to appreciate the fun times, and people understood back then that it wasn't a sexual comment... it was a way of saying "bring it on"... the fun.. not the sex.

Over time, as the BBS systems died out and the Internet took over... hardware routers were available that would stop assorted bad traffic from reaching your computer and the phrase changed in meaning... "having a condom on" would often mean that you have a router in place, to stop the bad traffic and viruses from infecting your system. It was never sexual back then, and the phrase is not sexual today.

Environments like "Twitter", with the limit of 140 characters, make describing these types of things much more difficult, and prissy people tend to get their noses in a snot to quickly, because they jump to conclusions.

Hurry up and slow down folks. Especially in twitter. Just because YOU took something in one manner does not mean that the person who said it, meant it in that manner.

As George Carlin was so quick to point out... they are only words.

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