Thursday, 29 June

Human Nature

Thu 29 June | 11:15 - 11:45


The Bliss Suite

Platforms in the Public Interest: Lessons from Minitel

Platforms such as Facebook predominate the Web, providing private infrastructures for public culture. These systems are so massive that it’s easy to forget the digital world was not always like this. More than two decades before widespread Internet access, millions of people in France were already online, chatting, gaming, buying, selling, searching, and flirting. This explosion of digital culture came via Minitel, a simple video terminal provided for free to anyone with a telephone line. After thirty years in service, Minitel offers an alternative model for the internet’s future: a public platform for private innovation.


Kevin Driscoll studies the interplay between popular culture and computing. In his research, he explores and builds alternative models for platform governance and online community from what was used for the internet of the 1980s and 1990s. Recent projects examine dial-up BBSs in the US and Minitel in France. Kevin holds a position as assistant professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia.