Its Been 21 Years Since My First IM

The thought struck me last night, on seeing a film with some students around a green-screen monitor that it was in 1986 that I first used instant messaging. The command was called “notify” but the cognoscenti created an alias, “n”, in their logon script (personalisation) and another alias to see which of their friends were on line. I think it was an IBM 3084 mainframe behind the scenes and very “dumb” and impersonal terminals at the front end. It is sometimes hard to remember the days before the internet (it was probably 1992 when I first experienced TCP/IP and was jolly pleased to remote control my SUN workstation in Durham while in Boulder Colorado) but in 1986 we were pretty impressed by CUDN, the Cambridge University Data Network and being able to IM each other from our respective places of study and dwelling.

How often we “notified” I shudder to recall, for the monikers of my friends are still memorable: SJC10, BTS11, GAN10 …

Funny how some things change while other’s don’t…

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