Very quick background for non unix nerds- finger is a command to find out who is logged into a machine, to get their contact info, and to read their ‘Plan’, which is like a user’s status. It was handy when working in the CS labs during college to see who was in the labs.
Anyway, I found a newsgroup post from the creator of finger talking about how and why he created it; it’s an iteresting article in general, but what stuck out for me was the following:
Some people asked for the Plan file feature so that they could explain their absence or how they could be
reached at odd times, so I added it. I found it interesting that this feature evolved into a forum for social commentary and amusing observations.
So, it turns out people were updating their status way back in the ’70s, and we’re now seeing the same sort of evolution (or devolution depending on who you ask) of away messages, statuses, and tweets. Of course, status updates and tweets today are severely lacking in ascii art.
_ ___ ____ ____ ___ |\/\ | \ |_ _\|_ _\ |___\| \| . \ || || |/v\/|/\_/ |/ |/ ___________________ _-_ \==============_=_/ ____.---'---`---.____ \_ \ \----._________.----/ \ \ / / `-_-' __,--`.`-'..'-_ /____ || `--.____,-'