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Studying the influence of Bulletin Board System technologies on the communication culture of pre-internet Turkish-speaking online communities: a socio-technical approach

  • Ivo Furman (a1)

Abstract

How does the technological infrastructure of a communications medium influence the culture of an online community? Taking up a socio-technical (STS) approach to online communities and computer mediated communication, this study introduces and explores the communication culture of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) active in Turkey between 1995 and 1996. In the first part of the study, the researcher provides a brief history of BBS networks worldwide and of pre-Internet communication networks in Turkey. In the second part, using a sample from a privately owned archive of correspondences from Hitnet, a national-scale FidoNet-style BBS network popular in Turkey between 1992 and 1996, the study documents how some of the technical constraints on the level of hardware, software, and human-computer interaction (HCI) influenced the communication culture of the Hitnet community. At the same time, the study pays especial attention to the workarounds devised by community members to work around these constraints.

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