At CASBS, Kevin Driscoll will be studying the moral commitments of “shareware” programmers of the 1980s. Shareware was an alternative form of software commercialization based in the cooperative values of amateur technical cultures like ham radio and the financial model of public service broadcasting. Shareware authors gave programs away for free with a request for users to mail in a check. Learning how these programmers cultivated a feeling of interdependence with users may provoke new ways of thinking about media economies of the future.
Driscoll’s recent research involves comparative histories of the internet, the politics of amateur telecommunications, and computational methods. Previous work includes Minitel: Welcome to the Internet (MIT Press, 2017) with Julien Mailland of Indiana University, and the Minitel Research Lab (https://minitel.us), an online archive dedicated to the pioneering French videotex platform. His next book, The Modem World: A Prehistory of Social Media, traces an alternative history of the internet through the technology and culture of dial-up bulletin board systems.
Driscoll is an assistant professor in the department of media studies at the University of Virginia. For more, see his website at https://kevindriscoll.info