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A bulletin board system (BBS) refers to text-based online communities that users can log into over the Internet using dedicated software. The bulletin board system predates the World Wide Web and was a popular application for Telnet users. Bulletin board systems were an early example of the Internet’s ability to foster large online communities.
Bulletin board systems are often compared to chat, but theses systems were never meant to be real time. Instead, users log in, see what has been posted since they were last there and reply as they please – all through a text interface as many bulletin board systems were created before a graphical Internet. Bulletin board systems can be used to share files, discuss specific topics and basically enjoy the sense of community that comes when people of similar interests align. Many of these functions are now provided by the Web and social media, but bulletin board systems still exist and have a dedicated following.