Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Personal tools
You are here: Home / The Meta Network (TMN) Online Community

The Meta Network (TMN) Online Community

I spent my twenties as a denizen of the online community The Meta Network (TMN). The Meta Network (TMN) is an online community dedicated to learning and creative freedom. Founded in 1983, the goal was to make rich interaction possible beyond the limits of time and space. MetaNet continues to thrive as a haven of stimulating resources and conversation in an impersonal Internet.

The Meta Network


The Meta Network (TMN) is an online community dedicated to learning and creative freedom. Founded in 1983, the goal was to make rich interaction possible beyond the limits of time and space. MetaNet continues to thrive as a of stimulating resources and conversation in an impersonal Internet.

What is The Meta Network

MetaNet was one of the first, public online communities and has continued as a space for those interestd in building online communities to enrich individuals, enhance organizations and build global communities. The 'vision' of Metanet was to close the gap between the human condition and human potential by providing ways for people engaged in social purposes to find each other and offer support to one another.

MetaNet was one of the consortium of online communities and networks that banded together to form the Electronic Networking Association in 1985 to help develop the medium in ways beyond commercial interests.

MetaNet is a free, public community anyone can join. The community history is all online. All the conversations and stories and dreams that define our sense of community are all available in our community conferences.

Second, The Meta Network is a support system for a wide variety of other communities. TMN supports learning communities, professional communities, corporate communities, government communities, etc.

Topics of discussion

TMN is divided into general subject areas known as "conferences". These conferences reflect member interests, and include arts, health, business, regions, hobbies, spirituality, music, politics, games, software and many more.

Within conferences, members open separate conversational threads called "topics" for specific items of interest. For example, the Current Events conference has topics devoted to the Arab-Israeli conflict, negotiating with terrorists, and U.S. Foreign Policy.

"Public" conferences are open to all members, while "private" conferences are restricted to a list of users controlled by the conference hosts. Some private conferences (such as "Spirit" for women and "Fire" for men) are listed in TMN's directory, but are access restricted for privacy or membership-restriction reasons. Members may request admission to such conferences. Membership in private conferences is by invitation. TMN members may open their own new public or private independent conferences.

Moderation and Organization

The community forums, known as "Conferences" are supervised by "conference hosts" who guide conversations and may enforce conference rules on civility and/or appropriateness. All hosts were selected by TMN moderators.

Overall support and supervision of the conferencing services is by core unpaid members, often referred to collectively, as "conference organizers." Conference organizers have more system operational powers than conference hosts, along with the additional social authority of selecting "featured conference" hosts and (rarely) closing accounts for abuse.

TMN members use a consistent login name when posting messages, and a non-fixed pseudonym field alongside it. The pseudonym defaults to the user's real name, but can be changed at will but this is neither common nor is it encouraged. TMN is 100% real-name-based; although the user's real name can be easily looked-up using their login name. TMN members are not anonymous.

Joining and reading

TMN membership is available to almost anyone, but requires a [ registration] and use of one's real name. All postings on TMN can be read only by TMN members.

Reading and participating in the discussion is done by using a regular browser. TMN utilizes [ Caucus software] , which is an advanced, open source conferencing software that supports sharing multimedia content as well as rich text editing. Caucus keeps track of all the responses and discussion items that you have read, so you go directly to the new material. You can also opt out from discussion topics that do not interest you by "forgetting" them.

TMN in the news

On Thursday, January 21, 1999, Linton Weeks interviewed Frank Burns on The Navigator - Live on the Washington Post via live chat. The article included questions from chat attendees. [ The Navigator - Live T R A N S C R I P T]

When Was The MetaNet Founded

The Meta Network was founded on March 28, 1983


Frank Burns, founder of the Washington-based Meta Network Community, launched The Meta Network in 1983. The Meta Network is one of the oldest online communities in the country.

Original Press Release Announcing MetaNet

"'March 28, 1983For Immediate Release"'

"The Meta Network"A New Electronic Network Opens;Focused on the Pursuit of ExcellenceMetasystems Design Group announced today that it has opened its new computer conferencing and networking system known as The Meta Network. The new network provides state of the art computer-linked communications services to individuals, government agencies, and corporations who are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in their organizations and communities.

Frank Burns, President of Metasystems Design Group, Inc. states that The Meta Network is designed for leaders, educators and consultants who want to work together to narrow the gap between the human condition and the human potential.

Burns says, "In a real sense, we are building an information age version of the think tank. We are building a network of networks that is focused on the discovery of knowledge rather than just the exchange of information."

Burns is no stranger to "knowledge networking." He was the Director of the US Army's Delta force prior to leaving the army last November. Delta Force is an inter-disciplinary, computer-linked network of more than four hundred researchers and futurists who are chartered by the Army to develop concepts and methods for impoving the performance of Army organizations.

The Meta Network will enable corporate and government leaders to start their own excellence networks -- focused on improving productivity and unleashing higher levels of human spirit in their own organizations and agencies.

The Meta Network uses the Confer II networking system. This multi-feature computer conferencing package was created by Dr. Robert Parnes at The University of Michigan. Though it is a sophisticated system that provides many features not available in other computer networking packagesd, CONFER II is easy to learn and use effectively. Beginners with no previous experience with electronic mail or computer conferencing systems discover quickly how to engage in focused conversations with their "knowledge colleagues" around the country..and eventually around the world.

Individuals and organizations who join The Meta Network do not need to own their own computers. All they need is access to virtually any computer terminal or communicating word processor in order to connect with The Meta Network via a local phone call.

External links

* [ The Meta Network]
* [ Register for The Meta Network]
* [ The Navigator - Live T R A N S C R I P T] - Live chat interview with Frank Burns about TMN.COM
* [ Caucus open source software]