How the OJ trial foreshadowed internet culture

In June 1994, when the late OJ Simpson was charged with murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her lover Ron Goldman, the World Wide Web was in its infancy. Still, with hindsight, it’s easy to realize that modern internet culture was all around us. Not literally, of course. The Netscape browser would not be released for another six months. If you wanted to tie up your phone line, fire up your 56K modem and “surf the internet” (a then-obscure phrase coined by a librarian), you could use the buggy Mosaic browser. But you had to know your sites and services: a couple of nerds had just started a directory called Yahoo, but would not add a “search” feature until 1995, after the OJ trial had begun.  SEE ALSO: Learn about the O.J. Simpson trial from CNN’s ancient ’90s website The internet grew up fast that year. It did so in part by offering places for OJ obsessives to congregate. “Scores of O.J.-related data bases [sic], interactive discussion forums and electronic mail lists have opened in cyberspace since last June,” the New York Times noted in February 1995, in a story that now seems too quaint to be real. The defunct service provider Prodigy “already has 20,000 O.J.-related messages in its data base,” while over on “America on-Line,” the “Court TV forum is abuzz with armchair analysts.”In “the first trial of the digital century,” the Times’ Peter Lewis enthused, “anyone with access to a personal computer, a modem and a telephone line…How the OJ trial foreshadowed internet culture