๐Ÿ“‘ Webring History: Social Media Before Social Media

Bookmarked Webring History: Social Media Before Social Media (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

How the webring became the grassroots tool of choice for sharing content online in the โ€˜90s. The concept was social media before media was social.

Ernie Smith provides a history associated with webrings.

Structurally, a webring has many parallels to the modern-day Twitter quote-tweet chain, a Russian nesting doll of sorts in which youโ€™re encouraged to keep clicking on the tweets being quoted, with no end in sight. Depending on what youโ€™re up to at the time, itโ€™s a novel, entertaining, somewhat curated experience.

Smith discusses the pioneering work of Sage Weil, as well as the association with Bomis, the website that led to the development of Wikipedia.

In some ways, Wikipediaโ€™s success as a concept benefited from the same feedback-loop dynamics that a webring does. Itโ€™s a site that rewards clicking, and becomes more valuable the further down the rabbit hole you go. It becomes like a game, almost. That, in its own way, is a dynamic that Wikipedia borrowed from Bomis and other webring-driven networks.

This is a useful piece alongside Charlie Owen’s more technical examination.

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