The Well and Cognitive Labs

Cognitive Labs just received some nice feedback from The Well, billed as the first online community, going back to 19985....especially Stackopolis.

As you know, our mission is to improve brains the world over with extensible, easy to use technology that's accessible to anyone. That's it. Watch for those brain widgets! Coming soon, to an internet connected device near you.

Here's more about The Well.

Learn About The WELL
What is The WELL? spot illustration of a tree with many branches

The WELL is a cherished and acclaimed destination for conversation and discussion. For twenty years it has captivated intelligent, creative people. It is widely known as the primordial ooze where the online community movement was born — where Howard Rheingold first coined the term "virtual community." Over the last two decades, it's been described as "the world's most influential online community" in a Wired Magazine cover story, and "the Park Place of email addresses" by John Perry Barlow. It's won Dvorak and Webby Awards, inspired songs and novels, and almost invisibly influences modern culture.

Now run by Salon Media Group, independent publishers of the ground-breaking Salon.com online news magazine, The WELL continues to cast a long cultural shadow. For many people it's the place you aren't quite sure you've heard of, but may just wish you had. For members, it's a place to come up with the next interesting thing and a way to live.

Where Is The WELL?

The WELL is a cluster of electronic towns on the Net, inhabited by people from all over the world. Once a regional dial-up service, it has long since become a territory in its own right.

The WELL's conversations take place on keyboards around the world, but the servers and staff have always been in northern California. The first WELL computer and modem rack were located in Sausalito, California, near the classic rustic houseboat harbor in the 1980s. The WELL's office and servers are now at Salon.com, in downtown San Francisco, but the action is online, and a few keystrokes away for WELLfolk all over.

Where is The WELL? There's no simple answer to that question, but as Gertrude Stein might have said, "There's a there there."

How Did It Get So Good?

There is nothing quite like The WELL, and the secret has a lot to do with its evolution. Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant founded the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link in 1985, starting with a dialog between the fiercely independent writers and readers of the Whole Earth Review. This set the tone for the open but remarkably literate and uninhibited intellectual gathering that continues today. Over the years, WELL members have made fast friends, created enduring traditions, gathered casually face-to-face in cities 'round the world, and provided support to strangers. They have founded organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Craig's List, and documented what was emerging in books like Howard Rheingold's The Virtual Community, John Seabrook's Deeper, and Katie Hafner's The WELL. They have gone into business together, fallen in and out of love, cultivated feuds, taken kickass vacations together and enriched lives. Salon.com bought The WELL in 1999, and upgraded its servers to greet the century. These days WELL members enjoy access to Salon's remarkable independent journalism and the benefits of Salon Premium.

The WELL social experience continues to evolve and surprise.

Plunge Into The WELL

The WELL is a place made of words, an extraordinary word palace with thousands upon thousands of topics of interest. There are members pages and WELL conferences you can look at without a password, but the bottom line is that members know it's the interactive experience that engages, informs, enrages and transforms us.

You don't need an invitation from a member in order to become part of The WELL. The service is distinguished by our non-anonymous participants, and by uncommon policies. This unique gathering is both greatly valued and directly supported by WELL subscribers. If you are ready to participate, you are welcome to come along for the ride.

The best way to learn about it is to plunge in and explore for a month or two, to see if this is the place for you.

As you'll soon see, there's nothing like The WELL. Join us.

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