Web 2.0 gets social

Social networking may be the flavor of the day, but the phenomenon of the virtual community is actually as old as the dial-up modem.

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Long before the advent of the web, Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis created an online program called Usenet that let people with similar interests find each other by posting comments to newsgroups. Like an online bulletin board, Usenet topics were divided into different categories, such as computers, science, humanities, and society, and users wrote replies to each other's posts. More than 800 million messages going back to 1981 are now archived at Google Groups.
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Last updated March 26 2008: 10:19 AM ET
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