Introduction to the Digital W&D

By: Gerald Lucas

In the Spring of 2014, Mike Lennon and I had lunch at a small café in Atlanta and talked about the future.

I had been acting as the voice and advocate of the digital life of the Norman Mailer Society since I joined in 2006. Even before that, my interests and research were catalyzed by the nascent digital world. My graduate work centered on the pinnacle of print culture — literary studies — but simultaneously I dabbled in the revolutionary world of the digital. I spent frustrating hours trying to make my university network account work on my ancient Mac Classic through its 28.8K dial-up connection — fast for the early nineties. My first reaches through cyberspace were limited to a text-based terminal, through which I was introduced to the robust powers of UNIX that seemed light-years behind my Mac’s GUI, yet somehow much stronger, like the difference between a Toyota Tercel and a Mercedes diesel sedan. After earning my M.A., my upgraded 56K modem and the university’s new Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) fit the Internet to my Mac. Mosaic suddenly opened up my small studio apartment to the World Wide Web and its promise, and I have never looked back.

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