I’ve been using online computer systems since 1977 or so, starting with a very primitive teletype-and-paper-tape hookup to a school district computer in junior high school. Later I used university systems, bulletin boards, dialup Internet, and most of the online services.
For most of this time I didn’t use these networks socially. In the earlier years this just wasn’t technically practical. When I bought my first computer I was 25 years old, living in Los Angeles, and heavily involved in the music scene, so I didn’t feel the need for any additional social outlets.
However, I’ve always been a trivia nut. I did College Bowl at UCLA, and our team won and went to the statewide competition. When Trivial Pursuit came out I loved it and won a lot. I even liked the dumb trivia games in bars. So when I found the live interactive trivia games in AOL chat rooms I got hooked right away. There’d be maybe 10-15 people chatting and a game host and a scorekeeper, and you’d try to type in the correct answer before the host typed the “buzzer”, but just before! So that others couldn’t copy you. The hosts wrote their own trivia games. If you won you got some free time on the service.