Bulletin Board Systems were in the rage before the era of the Internet for the general public. Before the Internet was opened up to the general public, the Bulletin Board System was real popular. Even America Online was a bulletin board system before they were known as a gateway to the Internet.
Bulletin Boards were either single line or multi line and they had community connections. In my local area code we had over 20-30 different systems one could call into. Unfortunately I was one of the last dialup systems in my area and basically fold the towel in 2001 after my debut in 1995 as a part time system.
With the BBS we have curated file libraries, we have text file collections and even games that do not require the user to pay 99 cents for tokens to pass difficult levels from the games such as Candy Crunch Saga.
Today we have the option of visiting systems around the world, back in 1997/1998 I faced heavy long distance charges to dial the east coast to download files, now its part of your Internet provider subscription and you can visit systems in Australia, Brazil or even Canada.
Many of the systems that ran did not have fancy interfaces to communicate into. They were like if you were using a DOS prompt and the communication was text and 16 color oriented. People eagerly awaited the new messages from Fidonet and WWIVnet and posted their conversations just as much as people use Twitter or Facebook today.
Operating and visiting the BBS systems may be not what it used to be, but many who believe in the spirit of this retro form of communication hope that if people could crave music in vinyl format, people could come back to the bulletin board. If Facebook could have arbitrary restrictions about using their service, maybe we should go back to basics with the BBS.
Even 14 years after the peak of the Internet a hundred plus bulletin boards are still in operation and you can visit them.
You may not have a copy of QModem or Terminate to dial into a bbs in the current day, but you can today by using an application such as Syncterm. Since dial-up connections are more rare than bbs callers, we use telnet to dial in through the Internet. A convenient installer is available thru the Syncterm download page.
The default dialing directory has over 40 systems one could visit. If you are looking for more, you can find some in the Fidonet BBS Ads echo.