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Communication Platforms: Sceners Poll
by Taper/Triad

As in any society, one of the basic components in the scene is communication between groups and individuals. However, the preferred means of communication have shifted over the years. Some forms of communication that used to be very popular are now more or less extinct (snail-mail swapping, etc.), other forms are still being used (phone calls, BBS, IRC, etc.) and newer methods have become dominant (forums, Facebook, etc.).

This issue's opinion poll covers communication, and we've asked a number of sceners that often engage in scene communication two questions. Some provided extensive answers, while Sixx/G*P is still learning how to put together a full sentence, but either way we thank everyone for their valuable input! :)

1. What are presently your preferred means of scene-communication, and why?

2. What used to be your favorite communication method back in the days?

As I find this topic personally interesting, I will break all journalistic rules by actually participating myself as well. Let's get started with question number one...

TAPER/TRIAD

Presently most internal communication between TRIAD members takes place on Facebook, as it's a fast way to get your message out and more or less everyone have an account these days (even myself, since people nagged me until my ears bled). Facebook is a fully adequate communication platform, and certainly easily accessible, but since the question I so humbly formulated myself was about "preferred" communication method, Facebook is not my answer.

Of course, being a sysop, I still prefer to communicate via the boards. It's more of a closed circle, which can be an advantage at times, and the PETSCII graphics gives communication a whole new dimension. Only your imagination limits the way you can express your feelings in PETSCII!

FRANTIC/HACK'N'TRADE

I prefer meeting people "live" on parties and meetings. I probably spend most time on CSDb though, mainly because that is a place where you can learn new things about C64 coding and C64 hardware. More so than anywhere else in these days, I guess. Then of course I have to recommend everyone to log on to Antidote every now and then. It is a very nice BBS! To me, Antidote is mostly about the PETSCII experience though and perhaps not that much for actual communication. Of course there is also the occasional e-mail to someone as well as the occasional pop in to #c-64 on IRCnet. I do not make use of Facebook or Google+, etc.

SIXX/G*P

IRC.

CMP/TRIAD

E-mail, due to the fact that nowadays e-mail clients make storing, sorting and searching e-mail easy. It gives a decent backlog that is both fun and good to be able to look back at. The speed and ease of e-mail makes it suitable for working together over distance and at different time zones. You can answer e-mails whenever you want to. May be months after you got them. On e.g. IRC, answers two months old is not really valid.

That said, there is nothing, NOTHING, like snailmails. The genuine touch of an envelope, possibly mistreated by the postal service, with some crap note of almost unreadable handwriting and some other goodies inside just make any day a better day.

TADPOLE/EXCESS

My preferred scene-contact-method today is via e-mail, some forums (CSDb + Forum64), retro-partys and since a few weeks also via Facebook. I stopped snailmail swap 3 months ago - unfortunately no more mood, no time, no more fun. The last actual send I received was the "squary demo" from DMAgic. I spread it 11 times and that was my final send.

JUCKE/JUDAS

Antidote, IRC, Facebook, mail, mobile phone calls and SMS.

MACX/ONSLAUGHT

What I would have preferred is a renaissance for board-cruising based on telnet technology. We have the means to get numerous elite BBS up and running on true hardware, which we could call either from our more modern equipment or from our real gear. In my opinion this would be the way to keep the scene as a scene, different from a more open and easy-for-anyone culture. An odd evening every week or so could then be spent on calling out, to keep up with what is happening. Parallel to this would of course more open fora run and do what they already do - for those aspiring to come into the scene or just being curious hang-arounds. Big culture vs scene subculture.

However, as this is not the way it looks I stick to paying interest and activity at various different online fora in the spectra from the tres enthusiast geeky to the hardcore cyberpunk scenish. Besides those I also have a Facebook account which I use to communicate with a lot of sceners whom I regard as regular friends, more or less. And then I of course call the few elite boards still out there.

EL-TOPO

My preferred way of scene communication these days is by forum posts/PM's, IRC and to some degree still by connecting to BBSes, even though the other two methods dwarves the last one.

STORMFRONT/COVENANT/EXCESS

I'm using mainly e-mail, CSDb private messages and still C64 noters on diskettes for my swap mates. Reason for mainly using e-mail system as I receive a fast reply compared with other technologies.

[Taper] These were all the answers for question number one, so let's continue with the next question: What used to be your favorite communication method back in the days?

TAPER/TRIAD

I started out mail-swapping, which was nice in its own way. Now and then you really bonded with someone, wrote long letters on paper and exchanged gifts and VHS tapes in addition to disks. However, as nice as that was, my modem opened up a whole new world of digital communication. Again, my answer must be the boards, and even more so back then than now. News were spread the fastest on the boards, and you could reach the people you wanted to reach, no more and no less! Of course, the occasional phone conferences I participated in were nice too, but for me that was more an extension of the boards than anything else.

FRANTIC/HACK'N'TRADE

Meeting local sceners face to face. I got most of my warez from people at school. We were 8 boys in the same class at school who had an Amiga 500, and something like 4 boyz who also had a C64. I came home from school with a bunch of new disks almost every day. There really wasn't any need for me to call BBSes and stuff, even though it happened. I got a modem quite late though (1994?), so I wasn't really part of any C64 BBS scene. Apart from the school yard swapping, other means of communication that I made use of included ordinary phone calls (no phreaking involved) and to a lesser extent also mail swapping. I remember a guy in H00r called Anders Christensen... Anyone knows who that was? :) His father had a computer store in Lund.

SIXX/G*P

BBS!

CMP/TRIAD

Mainly private messages on BBS'es.

TADPOLE/EXCESS

Back in the days I used with many sceners only snail-mail. Sometimes we sent each other photos, but most of the time only personal notes on the disks no photos, no personal contact, only the notes. And sometimes we meet each other by luck at the last X'2010. I was standing around, talking with some guys and then the good old Almighty God was standing in front of me - after several years of writing and sending disks we could talk personal to each other. Great!

JUCKE/JUDAS

Mailswapping, trainswapping, moped/bike-swapping, and then it got all hi-tech and from 1990 it was just BBS and phone calls until may be 2000.

MACX/ONSLAUGHT

This is a tough one, but if I would have graded it back then:

1) Late night phone conferences (voice). Those were a blast, especially when we were many aboard and hardly could differentiate one from another.
2) The international board scene (!child*prodigy!).
3) IRCnet #c-64 using NovaTerm on my C64, on a Unix Internet account.
4) Mega-swapping.
5) PBX's.

In retrospect, I believe what has had the biggest impact on me with my well over 300 snailmail contacts was swapping. I got many good friends through it, from all over the world, and it was a great way of growing up. I can still recollect the feeling when opening a pack from what I could see was one of my favorite contacts, whom always brought new and interesting stuff. It took plenty of time though, especially when accompanied with nights on American boards. On the other hand, what has shaped me as a cyberpunk individual the most must be how we got onto those BBSes, and for this reason the atmosphere in a CG universe on them.

EL-TOPO

Back in the day my main way of communicating was via BBS'es. I did some swapping by mail on the Amiga but I never had more than maybe half a dozen of contacts, so getting a modem opened up a whole new world to me.

STORMFRONT/COVENANT/EXCESS

Telephone (when I started in ExCeSs we had several hacked Voice Mailbox systems) and noters on disks had been my communication tools.

CONCLUSION:

[Taper] It seems like snail-mail swapping is still held in high regard and close to heart for many sceners, even though not many actually engage in that activity anymore. Other than that, it's obvious that there are as many preferred communication methods as there are sceners. Let thousand flowers blossom, but don't forget to pay homage to the classic ways! Send a disk in the mail from time to time, visit the boards and hack a VMB! :)

Also, meeting people in the flesh is educational, and often triggers activity like nothing else. Good thing we have lots of parties, meetings and get-togethers on the C64 scene, which we should support!

TAPER/TRIAD

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