Welcome to a gathering that's like no other.

The WELL was launched in 1985 and has served as a cherished watering hole for articulate and playful thinkers from all walks of life for over 30 years. Why is this conversation so treasured? Why did members of this community pull together to buy the service?

Check out the story of The WELL.

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Join the conversation with author Ellen Ullman

Join author Ellen Ullman as she discusses her book Life In Code: A Personal History of Technology, which traces Ullman’s experiences in the emerging technology culture from 1994 to 2017.

This conversation is open to all — you do not need a WELL membership to read and participate!

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No advertising? Really?

Yes, really. The WELL is entirely user-supported, which means we don’t have to serve you ads to make money. It also means that what you talk about on The WELL will stay there–if you post about your new pair of running shows in the fitness conference, you won’t suddenly see ads for other fitness equipment the next time you visit a different social media site. Plus, our posts aren’t spider-able so they won’t show up in web searches.

But you’re selling my data, right?

Nope. We collect almost no personal data from our users, and what we do collect, we don’t sell. A wise man once said “if you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product.” On The WELL, the product is the great content that our members create, not the members themselves. We won’t sell you out to some massive aggregator of online data. Here, you don’t just Own Your Own Words, you own your identity, too.

I’ve been a member of The WELL since 1991, and have found friends, inspiration, companionship, and more practical assistance than I can ever fully acknowledge. The WELL’s culture of intelligence, compassion, neighborliness, and occasional cascades of puns is a world unlike any other place online. One of the first, it’s still one of the best.

Jane Hirshfield