Back, oh, eight years ago, a friend of mine had set up a private bulletin board for a bunch of us. In theory, the common theme was gaming (a bunch of us were moving from MMO to MMO like a herd of grazing cattle), but it had everything from talking about computer setups to funny top 10 lists to discussing news articles to almost anything else that we thought was interesting or odd.

It’s a ghost town now, with faint echos of time past — the last update was over two years ago. Once Facebook became prevalent, all of us started using that instead. But something changed. It’s all the same people, but the way we interact with each other has been tainted.

It’s stark when seen in retrospect: I look at the Facebook postings from my friends and I can see pictures of dogs and clever quips and links to articles, but all of the content is short. The maximum degree of interaction with another friend’s posting is a “Like” or maybe a witty rejoinder of 40 words or less.