I guess ordinary people used dial-up modems and BBSes - Bulletin Board Systems. Modern Internet forums a.k.a. boards are descendants from the message boards they had on BBSes. I didn't have access to any of this, but I did swap cracked computer games and short messages with my "contacts" on diskettes that we sent through the mail. Good times.Places like this did not exist. The internet had not been commercialized yet; it was still a US government project called ARPANET.