It was developed by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess and reportedly connected more than 250,000 callers before it was finally retired with the rise of the World Wide Web. According to Wikipedia, “Ward Christensen coined the term ‘Bulletin Board System’ as a reference to the traditional cork-and-pin bulletin board often found in entrances of supermarkets, schools, libraries or other public areas where people can post messages, advertisements, or community news.
“Early BBSes were often a local phenomenon, as one had to dial into a BBS with a phone line and would have to pay additional long distance charges for a BBS out of the local calling area. Thus, many users of a given BBS usually lived in the same area, and activities such as BBS Meets or Get Togethers, where many users of the board would gather and meet face to face, were common.”
Today, a BBS (PTT) is the largest online forum in Taiwan, with more than 1.5 million registered users.