There was a time where we didn't have the internet as it is now or the web browsers that do so much and are so complex.

A time where you used a modem to dial up to a specific server and it served only text, not even photos. Some variants has some basic colors (commercial services like Compuserve and Prodigy). There were also versions that were more of a home brew, not intended for mass commercial release.

WWIV was the Bulletin Board System (BBS) I was familar with. I think I paid $25 or so to the developer to support it and had access to the source code to modify as I pleased. The system ran on a 386 IBM compatible at a whopping 66 MHz. I think at that time I had a 14.4k bps modem and eventually upgraded to 57.6k. This BBS could handle one user dialed in and you could be on the console at the same time doing some limited ADMIN things if needed.

ANSI art was a thing then and was super cool because you could even animate it (using certain escape sequences that updated cursor position, like backspace, etc.) This was back in the MS-DOS days where you were essentially working in a terminal. You did need to use a small communication program to dial up another system but there are no 'windows' as this was before all of that.

There were some BBS platforms that had a dialing pool/multiple modems where several people could be dialed in at the same time. The benefit was when you wanted to check email or read forum posts you had a better chance of actually connecting the first time versus getting the busy dial tone and having to dial up later.

Full circle

It's interesting how then the BBS was to facilitate exchange of information, email, public posts/forums etc. and was just getting started. Now we see protocols like Gemini to return to a simpler form of information sharing and it seems things have come full circle. This time we can share photos and embedd some media, and we have much faster speeds (I don't miss the dial up modem). It's interesting that there is a desire to return to what is really important: actual communication with other people without all the fluff, pretense, or distraction of people trying to sell you things. How refreshing.