To be on the internet before 1993, you had to be in some way special or lucky. This was before the September that never ended. You were aware of this internet thing that most of the world had not heard of, and went to some lengths to get on it. If we could gather together many of the people who were on the net at a past point in time, that would be interesting company to be in.

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." -- L.P. Hartley

Visiting foreign countries is a neat thing to do. Mostly to meet and interact with different people, but partly just to be there and see how things are done differently. The foreign country of internet past is archived away in various places, from the Wayback machine to Google's usenet archive. But we can't visit these archives in the same sense we can visit the current internet today. It takes effort to find things in the archive; "new" posts are not popping up to be read; there is little serendipity. Why not? Interaction aside, internet past and present is just data.

My personal mail archives go back to 1995. I have written a program to find mail in my archives that is exactly ten years old, and remail it to a dedicated account. When I visit that account, I can see messages I received ten years ago as they come in in "real time". I can also look in the Sent folder to see replies I sent. This is just a demo with a small personal archive, but you can imagine it being done by the large public archives too, to create a nearly seamless imitation of being on the internet in the past.

(I need to finish this, and update it with anything learned by watching my historical mail come in.)