Some of the original pioneers of the online community world like Howard Rheingold and Cliff Figallo founded the WELL and it has sense become known as one of the original online or virtual communities. In fact, hereâ€™s how Howard describes the coining of the termâ€¦
"I remember a face to face discussion about the WELL in which I asserted that -- contrary to the public perception that was widespread at that time that only terminally socially inept geeks would use computers to communicate -- the WELL resembled a community. Kevin challenged me to write that up, and published my article on "Virtual Communities" in 1987. It took me five more years to find a book publisher who didn't tell me that only programmers were interested in the Internet."
Much of what we know and understand about how people interact and socialize online can be traced back to the WELL. We owe The WELL and itâ€™s inhabitants a debt of gratitude for blazing the trail and keeping it up for 20 years. I don't think we would be where we are today without them- and that's no April Fools.
You might also check out this discussion to celebrate the birthday:
The WELL at 20, with Howard Rheingold, Cliff Figallo and friends