Before the Internet that we know today, there was PLATO, a distributed online community that led to innovations as diverse as the plasma display, touchscreens and social media. Launched in 1960 at the University of Illinois as a platform for online learning, PLATO’s usage grew until the late 1980s, establishing terminals in more than 100 campuses around the world.
Its impact is hard to overstate.
In 1972, for instance, PLATO Notes was launched — the first example of a message board. In the following years, early versions of chat rooms, instant messaging, email, blogging platforms and multiplayer games all went online.