Virtual sex chatrooms
“The BBS world, it tended to be a one-line experience — you were the sole user of the service, you could send email, you could leave messages, but it wasn’t interactive in real-time in the same way.
So the experience of going into a chat room and getting a response a couple of seconds later from someone who was in the same chat room was just really cool.” Slowly, the service grew, expanding to support DOS and eventually Windows.
The chat product, called People Connection, had a variety of rooms for people interested in such topics as genealogy and strategy games.
Back then it was called Apple Link, a project commissioned by Apple Computer and a company called Quantum Computer Services to connect Apple II and Macintosh computers.
The beta test was dubbed “Samuel” and for Schober, a teenage fan of BBSes (bulletin board systems), it was an intriguing opportunity.
Last month, Sean Parker of Napster fame launched Airtime.
Amid the hoopla of the launch — attended, for some reason, by Jimmy Fallon and Snoop Dogg — Parker told an anecdote about meeting his business partner, Shawn Fanning, 15 years ago in a chat room, saying, “There’s something exciting about bringing spontaneity to the Internet.
He recalls a “little frontier town” where you could initially recognize almost every screen name you came across.
When the main chat room filled to capacity, necessitating the creation of Lobby 2, the community celebrated. “I know for myself, personally, I found it fascinating,” says Schober.
All of your interactions online are constrained by the people you already know.” (MORE: Chatroulette 2.0?
Napster Founders Launch Airtime Video Chat) So far, Airtime hasn’t exactly been a hit.