College of Arts and Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
computers, technology, history, facebook, 1980s
Cooper, David Scott, "Before Facebook and Twitter: The Online Computing Revolution of the 1980s" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4500.
The 1980s was the intersection of technological, economic, and social influences. Computer technology became smaller and more affordable, yet this alone did not spark online connectivity. Businesses experienced the available computers and online capabilities dating to 1950. Academic usage increased from the early 1970s. What made the 1980s the first computer generation was a combination of technological improvements, consumerism, business advertising, video games, and two-income households. Consumers were introduced to home computing through video game consoles, and the game console market crash of 1983 allowed home computers to increase sales. Computer manufacturers changed marketing strategies to educate the population on why they needed a computer and, in many cases, what would happen to their kids if they did not get one. Schools also became the incentive for home computer usage as companies donated or reduced prices to fill even elementary schools with computers. As a result, students used computers, and adults failed to understand them. Although remembered fondly, the 1980s also started many negative aspects of the online world.
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