I got into satellite television about twenty years ago. Being a tech-minded person, I decided to use the relatively new medium of the internet to learn more. I’d been part of user groups and bulletin boards since the 1980s, and they helped me find out a lot of answers I needed.
The world according to vBulletin
Of course back then we interacted with each other differently. There were no “social networks.” Even Myspace was a few years from founding. What there was, was vBulletin.
vBulletin was software that brought the bulletin board experience into the age of the internet. At the time it was really impressive. And, some of the internet’s first online forums for satellite TV and antennas were built with it.
I dove in with both feet into those early support forums and I made friends I have to this day. I owe a lot of what this blog has become to the people I met on vBulletin forums.
vBulletin was still the software of choice in 2007 when this site launched. There was a blog component, like there is now, and a support forum component. You can find a replica of it at the Internet Archive, when it looked like this:
In the years that followed…
This blog stayed with vBulletin as the software evolved. I was told at one point that, with over 7,000 articles, it was one of the largest vBulletin CMS sites ever created. That was a good thing… and a bad one. By the late ’10s, the software was creaking along and holding us back.
And so we, like everyone else, moved to a Facebook group.
Yes we did – and you can check it out right now. As I write this, we have over 300 members which may not seem like a lot. But it’s a dedicated crew who help each other out with answers every day. These are the best of the best, the smartest of the smartest. Have you joined yet? Maybe it’s time for you to become part of the elite.
But let me say this…
I’m going on record here as saying that Facebook is a pretty toxic place. It’s not the most toxic destination on the internet. It’s probably not in the top ten. But I, like you, joined about a decade ago with the hope and promise of reconnecting with old friends and classmates. I remember a fun and largely polite place where I could marvel at who still looked the same and who … didn’t. Like you, I used it to reconnect with people I hadn’t heard from since I was a child and like you, I bolstered long-dormant friendship.
But let’s be honest, that’s not what Facebook is today.
Today, Facebook is place where brands connect with consumers. Solid Signal has a page, for example. It’s a place where advertisers push their wares directly. We’ve done that too. I think most of all, though, Facebook is a place for individual people to stake the most toxic of claims, from abject hatred to toxic positivity.
If you’ve given up on Facebook, you’re probably better off for it. But, if nothing else, private groups can be a helpful part of this not-so-helpful site. Oh, without a doubt there are hate-filled groups too, but Solid Signal’s group isn’t one of them. We have a strict “on-topic” policy and while that means we don’t have a million members, it means you can feel safe asking your question.
And that my friends is what it’s all about. If a better alternative comes up, we’ll take advantage of it. But for now, our Facebook group is a pretty good place to be. Why not check it out?