[Air-l] hmm, thinking about internet stories

Kendall, Lori Lori.Kendall at purchase.edu
Fri Mar 22 08:22:40 PST 2002

Rob Furr wrote:

> On the other hand, I guess I don't believe that my experiences, or, 
> honestly, any of the semi-legendary events I've seen, are really any
> more worthy of being made part of a canon of net history than any other,
> equally instructive story. 

I don't think it's so much a matter of what's "worthy" of being
part of a canon -- what's interesting to me is what things do
pop up repeatedly for whatever reason.  For instance, how many
times have you seen the "male psychologist pretends to be 
disabled woman" story?  I don't tend to use that story in classes
(unless I'm using a reading that discusses it), because I have
other masquerade stories, but I would certainly say it's part
of the history of the Internet "canon."  

Another example is the rec.pets.cats invasion, which I do 
discuss in classes (and in print).  Yes there are other stories
of the destruction of online social spaces, but rec.pets.cats
is also instructive concerning changes in online demographics,
the expansion of the Internet, and gender issues online.

Some of the other stories I use: hostility towards AOL users when
AOL first connected to the Internet (especially on Usenet); and
AOL's introduction of a list of forbidden words (especially the word
"breast").  That's all I can think of at the moment in terms of
"events" online. 
Lori Kendall
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Purchase College-SUNY
lori.kendall at purchase.edu

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