In the rise and fall of BBS, I saw the Metaverse of that era

From Weibo to Douyin, who killed BBS?

The last time the BBS forum was noticed by the media was due to a stock bar crash.

On the morning of November 12th, some netizens complained on Weibo that the Oriental Fortune Stocks “crashed” and the Oriental Fortune Stocks could not be opened. There is also a topic of #东方财股吧撞了# on Weibo, but the attention is less than 5 million, and the comments are also very few, not even a hot search.

This makes people who have come from the golden age of BBS see that they can’t help but sigh: The stock bar was once one of the most popular interest tribes of BBS in the early years, but now it has been reduced to the “old elders”, and the sense of existence is getting weaker and weaker.

Also as the original gathering place of BBS in the past, Tianya Community , had a continuous downtime for more than 24 hours last year, and finally failed to make it into the hot search list of Weibo, a gathering of waves.

BBS is the place where the Chinese social dream on the Internet began. Putting it into the most popular meta-universe concept nowadays, BBS is the earliest virtual community and the starting point of the meta-universe. However, in the Internet memory of the post-00 generation, community forums such as Tianya and Maopu have long since disappeared, replaced by WeChat , Weibo, and Station B. Even many people no longer know: What is BBS?

01 Memories in Favorites

The stock market closed in the afternoon, and Chen Yu habitually clicked on the Oriental Wealth Stocks, and began to look at some hot topics in the forum. The mouse wheel is constantly scrolling, and the posts listed up and down on the computer screen are like a long list of books.

Chen Yu clicked on a post with hundreds of comments and looked at the floor piled up by netizens’ comments. Sometimes he smiled and sighed again and again. “Very few comments, every day is to see to see you are discussing what is generally the busiest night here.”

Stock market diving is the usual daily life of this post-70s stockholder. In 2007, Chen Yu caught up with the market at 6000 points and plunged into the stock market. He clearly remember the first stocks to buy are the first shares , the stock of shares it has retained links in his favorites.

In his full collection of favorites, you can also see links to the ashes-level communities such as Tianya, Maopu, and Xicihu , including some military, computer and other interest forums.

“We used to surf on the forum post bar back then, just as fascinated by young people chatting on WeChat, Weibo, and watching short videos.” Chen Yu has a unique memory of his generation about the forum.

As he said, he clicked on the link to the page of “Reporter’s House” in Xici Hutong. It was a discussion board that he often mixed up when he first joined the media, but a “404” popped up on the screen. Chen Yu muttered to himself: “Look, it’s gone.”

It was not until Chen Yu asked “What is BBS” after seeing 00 on the Internet that he realized that the word BBS had been out of public view for too long.

BBS’s English Bulletin Board System, translated as “electronic bulletin board”, originated abroad and was first used to publish information such as stock market prices. Usually divided into two categories: one is a commercial information site, and the other is a network forum that people often refer to.

The earliest recognized BBS site in China is called Shuguang BBS, which was established in 1994 at the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The first to enter the public eye was Shuimu Tsinghua, the official campus BBS of Tsinghua University the following year.

Tsinghua has represented the culture of Chinese Internet community colleges, brought together a large number of high Appreciating group, where also out of the first generation network Red Sister Furong.

At that time, the domestic Internet was in the ascendant, and the mobile network was still in the 2G era. Mobile phones could only send text messages. People generally used dial-up Internet access. The tools needed were computers, “cats” and telephone lines. The limitations of online tools mean that BBS was just a social public opinion field for a small number of users in the early days.

Today, two decades have passed quietly. With the popularization of the Internet, the public’s social discourse power has shifted from a minority to a majority, but the once glorious BBS has gradually declined. Faced with the rise of emerging social media such as official accounts, Weibo, content communities, short videos, and barrage sites, even the surviving BBS forums have gradually become an antique of the Internet.

Just in time for that sentence: The times abandon us and never say hello. So what exactly did BBS experience before losing its voice?

02 The history of the rise and fall of BBS

When it comes to BBS, you can’t get around the two “originator-level” mountains, Tianya and Maopu.

In terms of birth time, Maopu was two years earlier than Tianya and was founded in 1997. Hunan netizen Tian Zhe, whose net name is “MOP”, originally founded Maopu to collect TV Game information and communicate with like-minded players, but did not want to contribute to a BBS feast.

When Maopu was born, the first batch of Kochi users in China had already spoken freely on the predecessor of, the Sitong Cube Forum. That year, the Chinese football team lost the Qatar team in Dalian Jinzhou and lost the World Cup qualification by one point. The netizen Lao Rong who watched the ball on the spot published an article “Golden State Doesn’t Believe in Tears” on the forum, which was widely circulated by the outside world and became a milestone in the sports web.

As the earliest game community in China, Maopu mainly follows a niche and elite route. Around the millennium, after successive “exposures” by traditional media, Mao Pu poured into a large number of young new users aged 20 to 30. The chat content on the site was no longer limited to games, and completed the break from niche forums to comprehensive forums.

At that time, netizens in the Tianya community were talking about a hot post on “The End of the World, a Rotten Place,” and the poster was Ning Caishen, who later wrote “Wulin Biography.” He used the right and wrong style of writing, boasting that Tianya has a strong knowledge atmosphere, and there are many literary elites.

Tianya and Maopu became the best communication and display stage for domestic netizens at that time , attracting a large number of literati poosers like Ning Caishen, as well as academic elites, and also brought a lot of literary IP and first-generation Internet celebrities.

When Tianxia Basang was writing “Ghost Blowing Lantern”, he soaked in Tianya’s “Lian Peng Shijia” every day. Mingyue’s “Those Things in Ming Dynasty” was serialized in Tianya “Cooking History”; Murong Xuecun wrote “Chengdu, Tonight” in Tianya Please forget me.”

Maopu is even more regarded as the birthplace of Internet celebrity culture : from milk tea sister to Feng sister and sharp brother ; from online cool article author Zhao Ganlu to spoof video creator called beast Yi Xiaoxing: from “hanging Kobe without hanging Conan” to ” Don’t be obsessed with brother”; from watering and reminding to pinyin abbreviations such as LZ, BT, YY, and 233 emoticons.

The first ten years of the millennium are the golden age of BBS. However, there must be shadows under the prosperous sun. With the popularity of home broadband, the rapid increase in Internet user traffic has brought the contradiction between commercialization and idealization to BBS forums such as Tianya and Maopu.

Most of the BBS forums in the PC era are to spend money to make calls, and the advertising revenue is also pitifully small, and lacks rich monetization channels like current e-commerce and payment. Many BBS promoters are mostly out of enthusiasm or personal hobby. Once the scale is enlarged, it will face the problem of blood transfusion.

In 2004, Tianya successively accepted the first round of financing from IDG Capital, Zero2IPO Group , and Focus Media , as well as a 10 million equity investment from Google. After two rounds of “blood transfusion”, Tianya began to seriously consider “bloodmaking” and formed a full-time operation team. , Trying to monetize advertising traffic, the uneven advertising mixed in the forum, let Tianya see the dawn of the IPO, but laid the groundwork for the departure of old users.

The cat who chose to catch the olive branch of the capital was also not spared. In 2004, Maopu was acquired by Thousand Oaks Group, causing a large number of key employees to leave. Two years later, Maopu transformed into a portal site and expanded sports, entertainment and other channels. What used to be a pure land of games has become a mixed bag and entertainment.

In addition to their own “hematopoiesis,” Tianya and Maopu obviously ignored the KOL’s ability to build momentum and the indispensability. Until the later Sina blog used celebrity effects to compete for users, the two old seniors still hoped to rely on the remaining feelings. Live KOL instead of establishing a reasonable flow dividend mechanism.

The second decade of the new millennium is the era of the mobile Internet. Smart phones have gradually replaced PCs and have become the main tool for generation Z young people to surf the Internet. Mobile Internet not only changes the way to surf the Internet, but also reshapes a new network ecology. From the homepage to the APP, before the torrent of history, Weibo and WeChat gradually replaced BBS and became social platforms for generation Z young people.

Along with BBS, there are also familiar Internet buzzwords that we are familiar with . The stalk of “watering” is the daily life of BBS users, which means posting posts or comments that have no actual reading meaning. However, after the emergence of new social media such as Weibo, this word with uncontrollably horizon, Mop who together are the Internet gradually forgotten. In the past 10 years, a large number of established BBSs such as Tianya and Maopu stopped or fell behind in the mobile Internet era.

The last time Maopu was mentioned was a notice issued this year: officially shutting down the posting function. The only netizens left on this hill, which has been strong for more than 20 years, left the sentence “Ye Qingjie”.

03 Social immortality

When we say goodbye to BBS, we are actually saying goodbye to a generation of dialogue.

BBS has been developed in synchrony with the Internet, and it is the first to meet all the interactive needs of people online, such as obtaining news and information, paying attention to private friends, displaying personal works, replacing second-hand things, etc. However, in traditional forum communities such as Tianya and Maopu, the early days did not amplify the social interaction between people.

In the BBS era, if you want to know Ning Caishen, you have to check his personal homepage on Tianya, and you can see his nickname and signature. If you want to know more about what kind of personality he is? What are your habits and hobbies? It is necessary to search for traces in the posts he has posted.

Baidu Tieba and Douban Group are one of the few survivors with BBS genes. The two have one common feature : user tags. Through the “Follow bars” and “Join groups” set on the user homepages of the two products, a person’s age, circle, and three outlooks can be roughly judged to describe the person’s overall profile.

Whether it was Li Yiba, which was known as Baidu’s largest bar at the time, or the Douban anti-consumerism group that has gathered 300,000 young people, netizens are increasingly looking for a sense of belonging and identity on social networks through hashtags.

Not only these forums and platforms, but the mainstream cultural communities are all like this: Tiger’s labels are “male”, “basketball”, “football”, and “e-sports”; Xiaohongshu’s labels are “female”, “beauty”, “fashion”, and “grass.” ”“Internet celebrities”; The labels of station B are “young people”, “two-dimensional”, “games” and “ghost animals”.

This seems to make it clear that the end of BBS is ultimately a vertical community. If the social relationship between people is not dead, the genes of BBS will not disappear.

In fact, after the emergence of Renren, a real-name SNS (social network service), BBS has gradually become the past tense in the eyes of many people. The “stealing of vegetables” that was launched by the whole people in Happy Farm was all the rage, and let overpowered forums and blogs. The core reason was the social attribute of “finding friends”.

Someone once described Renren as the “Chinese version of Facebook”, while Weibo was regarded as China’s Twitter. The biggest difference between the two is that Renren only started working on the mobile terminal three years after the birth of WeChat; Sina had already tested its mobile phone Weibo before the full popularity of smartphones.

In the era of mobile Internet, the popularization of smart phones has greatly changed the way and habits of people surfing the Internet. When surfing the Internet becomes a way of daily life anytime, anywhere, social needs are further magnified.

The emergence of WeChat and Weibo in the mobile era are representatives of the evolving social acquaintances and strangers, respectively. From official accounts and friend circles to super chat and hot search, these product functions are all designed to strengthen social attributes.

The times are changing, and the young people in the times are also changing. The 2020 Gen Z Insights report released by QuestMobile shows that in 5 years, the number of Gen Z users after 1995 and 00 has doubled to 320 million, becoming a new force for mobile Internet users.

Therefore, we see that social attributes will not break, change and spread, and traffic is also infiltrating and segmenting:

Z generations like ACG culture, brought the rise of broken circle B station; like listening to music, watching videos, the success of Netease cloud music and deft vibrato; like the color values of consumption, little red books with red mesh grass; like idol Starchaser , Creating a carnival of Weibo fan economy.

Looking at the mainstream dialogue platforms of these contemporary people, they have more or less a deep mark of the BBS era. The last decade has been another round of wars to please young people in the era of mobile internet.

As the first fermenting position of current domestic news, current affairs and entertainment gossip, Weibo’s worries are how to ensure that the existing status of national dialogue and communication will not be taken away by emerging social platforms such as Kuaishou, Douyin, and Station B, just like blogs back then. Weibo has replaced Tianya Maopu.

In recent years, the Zhihu and B stations, which have attracted much attention from the outside world , are suffering from traffic backlash caused by breaking the circle. In the BBS era, the experience of the older generations of Tianya and Maopu has been verified: the move of niche communities to public platforms will inevitably cause the impact of the original user viscosity. The more vertical the community, the greater the impact.

Look at the scale of Chinese Internet users 20 years later: it has exceeded 1 billion. BBS is the starting point of the Chinese social dream, but it was gradually forgotten in the heyday, and people can’t help but feel emotional: the end of the world is extinct, and the social life is not dead.

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