I spent ten years writing books about the Web, but my first grown-up job, in 1995, was rating and writing reviews of Web sites for Magellan, a Web directory; I’d never seen the Web until the night before my interview.
Our college was wired, though, and I’d spent the last three years chatting on a Telnet BBS, forming my first Internet friendships and LDRs. I put “forum moderator” on my resume even though it involved nothing but occasionally deleting posts because I could. My friends browsed usenet groups for strange porn JPEGs; you had to quit Fetch to free up the RAM it took to open one.
We Web monkeys sat in a converted ship hanger in Sausalito and were expected to produce 35 reviews per day; you could pull that off if you looked at only the homepage of a site, trusting its links worked and it matched what it said on the tin; you could also do it if you cut and pasted the same review for 35 sites in a row. I did neither of those things, but a guy named George did and spent the rest of the day watching the Exploding Whale video.
The eccentric owners, the Maxwell family, thought we could review the entire Web. We didn’t.