Once upon a time, when every hour on AOL over your initial 5 hours a month cost $3.50, there was a great bunch of people who met in the Windows Members Helping Members area. Some of those people had screen names still familiar to us - Kayte, Michael, Shen, Dawn and others. Some now use different names, but they're the same folks. This is the same Windows MHM where Ruby, our current help correspondent, now hangs out - a place where experienced users offer assistance to those newer to the online world.
Lots of wonderful helpful people still hang out in MHM - but this particular bunch congregated there in 1994. Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it? In cyber terms, it was. Those were the days of AOL for Windows 1.0, 1.2, and 1.5. Sending "attached files" was a brand new concept. Some other services didn't even have mail outside their own systems. For instance, AOL members could send mail to Prodigy, but Prodigy users couldn't answer it! In those days we got really excited when we snagged a 4800 connection to AOL. Sometimes we had to settle for 2400, 1200, or - gasp! - 300 bps. There were about 1,000,000 members.
That's not "signed on at this second." That's altogether.
Then the MHM board managers opened a new folder called "What is Unique about AOL?" Regulars soon found they could start a thread about anything at all - if it sorta vaguely related to America Online. The very best part was that because it was in the "help" area, it was FREE.
This spot quickly became known simply as "Unique," and this gang of folks started a free newsletter that came out one Sunday a month, called the Unique Rainbow. Hundreds of people first met there, popping hurriedly out to send an IM or write mail.
Well, AOL caught on to the, um, "lavish" use of the free areas and eliminated the "Unique" folder.The Rainbow continued, though, and its subscribers eventually numbered in the thousands.
© 1998, Katherine E. Wattam
ETA: That was the status of Orca's Place in 1998. Now, nearly eight years later, and nine-plus years after the Orca's Place member room was first created on December 1, 1996, Orca's Place is still going strong, still with volunteer leadership. Orca's Place has had two real-life conventions, plus a number of mini-conventions when Orca's members gather together in the real world to meet and laugh. Attempts are being made to plan a third Orca's Place Convention. We've been blessed with wonderful new people to add to the wonderful regulars from way back, and still manage to play trivia with volunteer hosts most nights. And still manage to laugh and sometimes cry together and support our Orca's Place friends through thick and thin.
Thanks to all who have and do make Orca's Place one of the best rooms on AOL.
Orca's Home Page | What is Orca's Place? | Who is Orca? | Where is Pixelville? |
Page visited times.
Page last updated 04/30/2006.