Statewide Associated Press story on
Free Statewide SCNET Messaging!

An Associated Press story released STATEWIDE On Wednesday May 4th, 1994!
Headline in The State on May 5th (Pg. B7): "Can we talk?  SCNET logs on"
Subhead: Bulletin boards linked by service (Ran in 10+ S.C. Newspapers!)

CHARLESTON - It's the modern equivalent of chatting over the backyard
fence - computer bulletin boards allowing anyone with a computer and a
modem to talk to anyone else with a computer and a modem.

Now there's a statewide backyard fence over which South Carolinians
are discussing everything from gun control to the Confederate battle

It's called SCNET, it links computer bulletin boards statewide, and
it's free.

Bulletin boards are generally free computer services, many run by
hobbyists, sharing information on whatever subject - be it sports,
sewing or science - with others who have the same interests.

In SCNET, messages are transmitted on local bulletin boards move into
hubs, also run by hobbyists, which then share the information across
South Carolina.

So, if you have a computer, you can talk to anyone else in the state
with a computer for free - if you don't mind waiting a day or so for a
reply and don't mind everyone else reading your message.

Messages are generally are shared daily, although sometimes there's a
delay.  The hub operators pay a few dollars a month for the phone calls
to exchange the messages.

Most of the talk on SCNET is political, with people exchanging views
on everything from gun control and the Confederate flag to candidates
for governor.

Whether such networks will change politics in the state remains to be
seen, said Frank Petrusak, a political science professor at the College
of Charleston.

"A lot of these people are the same people.  They seem to be
professionals who are into computers and well-trained," and many are
already involved in politics, he said.

But if such technology or others, like interactive television, become
widely used, it could affect the system.

(Bold Type) "People would be able to participate in a more 
sophisticated way than talk radio.  Hopefully, it would plug them into 
the system and they would be more active and vote."
(Quote repeated in smaller type)

SCNET is available on 40 bulletin boards in Charleston and 19 in
Columbia.  It recently added bulletin boards in Greenville and
Spartanburg.  Bulletin boards in Aiken, Greenwood, Sumter and North
Augusta are also hooked up.  (Note: Anderson was inadvertently omitted.)

More than 1,000 messages crossed the state on SCNET during the last
two months.

"In the past few months it's reached critical mass." said Bob
Chapman, whose North Charleston wildlife art gallery has a bulletin
board that allows SCNET access.

Special thanks to Bruce Smith of The Associated Press for writing an
excellent article!  This topic is very difficult to explain succinctly.

I was proud to be considered as the "owner" of this statewide message network. To keep it working for so many years, took lots of time, energy and expense. Part of my self-appointed responsibility was keeping the South Carolina BBS List. Since about one third of all online systems in the state were local, I also compiled a Charleston BBS List. Believe it or not, very old versions of both BBS lists (going back to September 1997) can still be seen online today.

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