cover image Cyberville: Clicks, Cultures, and the Creation of an Online Town

Cyberville: Clicks, Cultures, and the Creation of an Online Town

Stacy Horn. Warner Books, $22.5 (340pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51909-0

Despite her modest self-description as a ""hard working opportunist, who wasn't the smartest person around,"" Horn in 1989 created one of the earliest, most imaginative and most humane of the cyber-communities. Called Echo, the Manhattan-based site, which boasts thousands of subscribers, including an unusual (in cyber-circles) number of women, features no-holds-barred discussions on virtually every topic imaginable, and attracts a particularly literate and hip crowd. In this witty, warm and apparently dead-honest account of her adventures in cyberspace, Horn chronicles the growth of Echo, profiles its inhabitants and presents her take on issues from online censorship to online love, offering an abundance of lively anecdotes along the way. Everyday Netizens will recognize their own experiences, while newcomers--""newbies""--will get a taste of the Net from an experienced guide. Horn writes in a conversational, slangy style (""I am such a lame-o business person"") that will jar some readers but that reflects the spontaneity of much of the online experience (which is further represented through informative swatches of conversations downloaded from Echo). Horn's candor and sense of humor are vastly appealing, particularly when compared to the pomposity of much other writing about the Net, and her conclusion--that, ultimately, cyberspace is about people--rings true. In an age where corporations are seeking ways to cash in on the Net, this should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand more about the human side, and human potential, of cyberspace. Serial rights to Self magazine. (Jan.)