My latest book, The Modem World: A Prehistory of Social Media, tells a story about how the internet became social and why this matters for its future. The book will be published by Yale University Press in April 2022 and is available for pre-order now from all your favorite booksellers.
The Modem World offers an alternative origin story for the internet. In the place of military contractors, university researchers, or Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, the book is organized around a distributed network of more than 100,000 bulletin board systems, or BBSs, operated by amateurs, activists, educators, and entrepreneurs across North America during the 1980s and 1990s. The social and technical contributions of this grassroots community laid the groundwork for the transnational internet that we rely on today.
I am especially interested in comparative histories of the Net that look beyond North America. In 2017, Julien Mailland and I published, Minitel: Welcome to the Internet, about the technology, culture, and political-economy of the pioneering French videotex system. We continue to maintain a digital archive and online museum: The Minitel Research Lab, USA.
- Driscoll, K. (2022). The Modem World: A Prehistory of Social Media. Yale University Press.
- Driscoll, K. (2023). Do We Misremember Eternal September?. Flow, 29, 6.
- Driscoll, K. (2022). They thought advertising would make the internet free. Flow, 29, 2.
- Driscoll, K. (2020). Losing Your Internet: Narratives of Decline among Long Time Users. In Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity edited by Annette N. Markham and Katrin Tiidenberg, 25-32. (PDF)
- Nooney, L., Driscoll, K., and Allen, K. (2020). From Programming to Products: Softalk Magazine and the Rise of the Personal Computer User. Information & Culture, 55, 2, 105-129. (PDF, data, code)
- Driscoll, K. (2020). Demography and Decentralization: Measuring the Bulletin Board Systems of North America. WiderScreen, 23, 2-3. (HTML)
- Driscoll, K. (2019). "Thou Shalt Love Thy BBS": Distributed Experimentation in Community Moderation. In Computer Network Histories: Hidden Streams From the Internet Past, edited by Paolo Bory, Gianluigi Negro, and Gabriele Balbi, 15-34. Histoire et Informatique / Geschichte Und Informatik. Zürich, Switzerland: Chronos Verlag, 2019. (PDF)
- Driscoll, K. (2019). Cooperative mode for amateur and academic game histories. ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories, 1, 1. (HTML)
- Driscoll, K. and Mailland, J. (2019). From trash to treasure: Turn a Minitel terminal into a Linux terminal or videotex display. IEEE Spectrum, 56, 3: 16-17. doi:10.1109/MSPEC.2019.8651924. (HTML)
- McKelvey, F. and Driscoll, K. (2018). ARPANET and its boundary devices: Modems, IMPs, and the inter-structuralism of infrastructures. Internet Histories. doi:10.1080/24701475.2018.1548138. (PDF)
- Mailland, J. and Driscoll, K. (2017). Minitel: Welcome to the Internet. The MIT Press.
- Mailland, J. and Driscoll, K. (2017). Minitel: The Online World France Built Before the Web. IEEE Spectrum, 54, 7: 32-37. doi:10.1109/MSPEC.2017.7951720 (PDF)
- Driscoll, K. and Paloques-Berges, C. (2017). "Searching for missing 'net histories'". Internet Histories, 1, 1, 1-13. doi:10.1080/24701475.2017.1307541. (preprint). (Russian translation by Leonid Yuldashev, 2020)
- Modems Matter: From 300 Baud to 56K, fanzine, 2016. (printable).
- Driscoll, K. (2016). "Social Media's Dial-Up Ancestor: The Bulletin Board System". IEEE Spectrum, 53, 11: 54-60. doi:10.1109/MSPEC.2016.7607028. (PDF). (Traddución al español por Nicolás Quiroga, 2018)
- Driscoll, K. (2015). Professional work for nothing: Revisiting Bill Gates' "An Open Letter To Hobbyists.". Information & Culture, 50, 2. doi:10.1353/lac.2015.0005. (preprint)
- Brunton, F., Driscoll, K., and Gillespie, T. (2014). Spam, and the Challenge of Chasing Shadows. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 58, 4. doi:10.1080/08838151.2014.966366. (PDF)
- Driscoll, K. (2014). Hobbyist Inter-Networking and the Popular Internet Imaginary: Forgotten Histories of Networked Personal Computing, 1978-1998. Dissertation, University of Southern California.
- Driscoll, K. (2012). From Punched Cards to "Big Data": A Social History of Database Populism. communication +1, 1, 4.
- Mailland, J. and Driscoll, K, Minitel Terminal as a Twitter Client (June 29, 2012). 2012 TRPC.
- Driscoll, K., and Diaz, J. (2009). Endless loop: A brief history of chiptunes. Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures, 2. doi:10.3983/twc.2009.0096.
Political talk online
I'm also working on a number of projects related to popular culture and political talk online with my former colleagues from USC including François Bar, Dayna Chatman, Lian Jian, Jieun Shin, and Kjerstin Thorson. Using a combination of macro-scale computational methods (thematic clustering, natural language processing) and micro-scale textual analysis, we have explored rumor diffusion and de-bunking, humor and live-tweeting during televised presidential debates, and the interrelationship of Black Twitter and Scandal fandom.
- Driscoll, K., Leavitt, A., Guth, K. L., Bar, F., & Mehta, A. (2018). Beyond Big Bird, Binders, and Bayonets: Humor and Visibility Among Connected Viewers of the 2012 US Presidential Debates. Social Media + Society, 4(1), 2056305118761201. (PDF)
- Shin, J., Jian, L., Driscoll, K. and Bar, F. (2018). The Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media: Temporal Pattern, Message, and Source. Computers in Human Behavior 83: 278-87. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2018.02.008. (PDF)
- Shin, J., Jian, L., Driscoll, K., & Bar, F. (2016). Political Rumoring on Twitter During the 2012 US Presidential Election: Rumor Diffusion and Correction. New Media and Society. doi:10.1177/1461444816634054. (PDF)
- Driscoll, K. & Thorson, K. (2015). Searching and Clustering Methodologies: Connecting Political Communication Content Across Platforms. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 659, 1, 134-148. doi:10.1177/0002716215570570. (PDF)
- Driscoll, K. & Walker, S. (2014). Working within a black box: Transparency in the collection and production of big Twitter data.. International Journal of Communication, 8.
- Vraga, E. K., Bode, L., Wells, C., Driscoll, K., & Thorson, K. (2014). The rules of engagement: Comparing two social protest movements on YouTube. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17, 133-140. (Available upon request.)
- Swartz, L. and Driscoll, K. (2014). "I hate your politics but I love your diamonds": The Web-based Interest-driven Messageboard as DIY Infrastructure. In M. Boler & M. Ratto (Eds.), DIY Citizenship, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (preprint)
- Thorson, K., Driscoll, K., Ekdale, B., Edgerly, S., Thompson, L. G., Schrock, A., Swartz, L., Vraga, E. K., and Wells, C. (2013). YouTube, Twitter and the Occupy Movement: Connecting Content and Circulation Practices. Information, Communication & Society. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2012.756051. (PDF)