The Well: A Story of Love, Death, and Real Life in the Seminal Online Community

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Carroll & Graf, 2001 - Social Science - 196 pages
2 Reviews
The Well was conceived during the Orwellian year of 1984, yet instead of heralding Big Brother, it became a boundary-breaking cultural invention that helped change our world. Though few glimpsed its potential, it quickly became indispensable to the evolution of the Internet as we know it today. Its creators were Larry Brilliant, a visionary software engineer and philanthropic doctor, and Stewart Brand, Sixties legend and originator of The Whole Earth Catalog. They imagined a new kind of community, one whose members would meet in everyday space, as ideal communities always have, while also inhabiting a new kind a environment, the virtual ether of a world that hadn't even yet been named.

By the end of the 1980s, the pioneering community founded by Brilliant and Brand was attracting thousands of early adopters, from former commune-dwellers to students to technologists to businesspeople to fans of the Grateful Dead, all participating in online conferences with other Well-beings (as they called themselves) on myriad topics. This fascinating anecdotal history unfolds their story. It is filled with memorable personalities and their early electronic postings, which are quoted as they were originally transmitted, as it analyzes the many reasons for The Well's legendary success, from its beginnings less than two decades ago up to the present day, including its recent purchase by salon.com.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - h3athrow - LibraryThing

It's a quick read, but it tells a long story. The Well is one of the earliest and longest-running online communities, and I've been a member for more than 10 years. Hafner's writing reads like much of ... Read full review

The Well: a story of love, death, and real life in the seminal online community

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Hafner (Where Wizards Stay Up Late) here provides an anecdotal history of The Well, the legendary San Francisco-based online community that has influenced a number of aspiring Internet successors. The ... Read full review

About the author (2001)

Katie Hafner has been writing about technology since 1983. She was the news editor of Data Communications Magazine, a reporter for the San Diego Union, a technology correspondent for Business Week and a contributing editor at Newsweek, covering technology and computers. In addition, she has contributed articles to journals such as Wired, The New Republic, Esquire and Working Woman. Hafner is co-author of Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier (1991, with John Markoff), and Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet (1996, with husband Matthew Lyon). In 1995, she wrote The House at the Bridge: A Story of Modern Germany, which grew out of an interest she developed in college while studying with novelist and playwright Rheinhard Lettau.

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