"The MySpace of My Youth"

Is this generation of teens the first to grow up completely online? Hardly. Highbrow TV critic Virginia Heffernan was a MySpace teen before Myspace teens even existed, she reveals in this week's NYT mag. The year was 1983. The nascent online world: "primitive computer network" XCaliber.

Xcaliber was early social-networking technology developed at Dartmouth College. In the heyday of Dungeons & Dragons, its vaguely Arthurian theme appealed to both hackers and preadolescents.

We evolved a whole cutesy shtick that, in this text-only interface, chiefly meant giving up mixed cases. In the name of enhancing adorableness, we stuck to little letters and as few spaces as English semantics could bear. Our classic squinched-up opener was "hi-howre you?"

At 13, Megan and I introduced our friends to the conference, and as early adapters she and I felt obliged to play the pros and make the whole thing look ungeeky. When someone on the network asked me what I was up to, I replied — without fail — "music, sports and parties," which was true, strictly speaking...

All I can remember is IRC, so please share your stories of dorking out on pre-Internet technology!