30 Of The Most Wonderful Things From The Pre-Internet Era, As Told By Members Of This Online Community
The internet in its classical sense is only thirty years old, yet now we have no idea how to live without it. But life was also pretty good in the days before the internet! And in this life, there were a lot of really cool things that we now miss so much.
Actually, the word "we" refers mostly to people who remember those times well. When Facebook was just a collection of photos of your classmates and Amazon was just a kind of parrot. When Pacman was the big game of the year and Michael Jordan was just a budding rookie.
There is an incredibly popular thread on Reddit with 45.5K upvotes and over 17.2K different comments answering just one simple question: "People old enough to remember life pre-internet, what are some less obvious things you miss about that time?"
Bored Panda made a selection of the most nostalgic and warm memories of those wonderful times of cassette recorders, Bird - Magic rivalry and the Back to the Future movie. We guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your parents are going to love it.
More info: Reddit
No Cell Phones
Leaving home and just being gone for the day. No cell phones. If there were cameras, it was really different. You used them to take pictures of things or had people take pictures of you. But there was no social media to preoccupy your mind. It was just doing something. And whoever you were with, was who you were with.
Facts Were "Curated" In The Sense That Information Came From People With Expert Knowledge
Before the internet, facts were "curated" in the sense that information came from people with expert knowledge and was distributed by journalists or teachers who were held accountable for accuracy of information. The internet has allowed crazy people to spout rubbish with hardly any filter.
Playing Outside From Morning Till Night
When you used to play outside and the only curfew you had was when it started getting dark outside.
Simplicity. Just Simplicity
Simplicity. I don't even know how to describe it. Like my days were filled with playing outside or swimming or reading in tree out front.
The Saturday Morning Cartoons And Sitcoms
The Saturday morning cartoons and sitcoms I watched.
For me it would be less negativity. Back then I was less aware of what was going on around the world outside of where I lived but now it’s almost instant coverage of the bad things happening everywhere.
Having An Attention Span Of More Than Three Seconds
I miss having an attention span of more than three seconds
Not Being Accessible To Your Boss 14 Hours A Day
Not being accessible to my boss 14 hours a day.
When You Left Work Or School It Was Over For The Day
Privacy. When you left work or school it was over for the day. There were no further interactions unless they were close friends. Hanging out. Teens and young adults spent a lot of time away from home with friends, at malls, movie theaters, parks, arcades, etc. Dating. You met someone at school, work, at a party, at a bar, or through friend. Money. Cash was king, debit cards didn’t exist, and many businesses didn’t accept credit cards (fast food, for example.) Planners and Address books. Write it down! Appointments, birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, reminders, etc. Photo Albums. Taking the time to buy film for a party or special occasion or just because and having 24 photos you could take (with no way to see the final photo until you took it to be developed.) Road maps. Going anywhere you haven’t been before? Better stop at a gas station and buy a map. Shopping. Go to the store and see what they have. Do the local stores not have what you need? Try looking in a catalog, maybe you can mail order it. Music. On the radio and on MTV. Buy records, cassette, or CDs. Make mix tapes to create your own playlists. If you don’t record it off the radio or buy it there is no way of finding it again. There was so much “not knowing” which made the world seem so much bigger and exotic. Now everything feels noisy and petty.
Complete Control Of My Own Destiny
My formative years were the 1980s. I remember like yesterday going to study in Paris my junior year of college. I got off the plane with no cell phone, no internet, a Let's Go Paris book, and just a hostel address written on a piece of paper I'd stuck in a French dictionary. I did not know a single person in all of France.
I had $500 of cash stuck in a money belt. The belt was tight and sweaty but that money had to last me for at least a month until I could find a part-time job with my lousy French. My "credit card" was my father's credit card numbers written down on a piece of paper. He told me I could only use it to buy a plane ticket home in an emergency.
I remember standing in the airport and having this powerful emotion of being 21 years old, scared shitless, but in absolutely completely control of my own destiny. There was absolutely nobody who could come rushing to my aid if I needed it. I was 100% on my own.
I'm actually very thankful for that experience. I found the hostel. I found a job. I made friends. I learned French. I made it all on my own which was just a big boost in life confidence.
I have no doubt if I'd had a cell phone I would've called my parents on Day 2, told them it was too hard, and been on the next plane home. But I had no other choice but to succeed.
Going To The Library To Research Things
Going to the library to research things. I loved getting a big pile of books on a table, taking notes, getting photocopies. It was an experience in itself.
Also, not being available to everyone all the time. I hate that almost all apps show people when you read their messages or are online. No one needs to know that I read a message and didn't reply for two hours!
Memorizing People's Phone Numbers
Living in the moment. Memorizing peoples phone numbers. People were less flaky. No manufactured drama over likes and dislikes.
Being At A Party And Folks Not Checking Their Phones
Being at a party and folks not checking their phones. In the good old days you had to interact.
The Sears Catalog
The Sears catalog. That was how I found out about all the cool new toys.
Video Rental Stores
video rental stores. i have such good memories of going to our local Mr. Movie with my dad, renting a sci-fi flick and getting candy at the checkout. streaming is cool and all, but i do miss video rental stores, mainly for nostalgic reasons.
Being In The Moment
Being in the moment. There was little temptation to be stuck in front of a screen or a phone all of the time.
TV had a schedule and wasn’t in demand, so if something you didn’t like came on you usually went to do something else, like go outside, read a book, or whatever. Life didn’t revolve around screens, and everyone was better off for it.
It sadly seems to take far too much self control to do those things these days.
Reading Newspapers And Magazines
Reading the newspaper and magazines used to be just about one of my favorite things.
Now it seems pointless to clutter the house with so much paper when I can access all of it online - but of course I don't. I pick and choose just a few articles, I don't really browse the way I would before and I encounter a lot fewer new or enlightening things.
Getting the Sunday New York Times and then going out for brunch and reading it with your friends/dates was such a treat.
I used to get so excited when my favorite magazines came in the mail, I'd immediately sit down and leaf through them and see what was worth reading right away and what could wait.
Simply Getting Lost
This is gonna sound dumb but... getting lost. Like, it was bad a lot of the time too but sometimes not knowing exactly where you were going led to unexpected and awesome consequences.
When You Bought New Music You Just Had To Hope It Was Good
When you bought new music you just had to hope it was good. The single might be popular but otherwise unless someone had it you just bought it and hoped for the best.
The Instant Win Bottle Caps / Candy / Chocolate Bar Wrappers
The instant win bottle caps / candy / chocolate bar wrappers where you could turn them back into the store and immediately get a free one. Now it's just codes you have to register on their website so they can get your info, i don't even bother anymore.
The Smell Of Encyclopedia Britannicas
The smell of Encyclopedia Britannicas
Sitting Down In The Evening To Read A Book Because There Was Nothing On TV
Sitting down in the evening to read a book because there was nothing on tv. With today’s streaming services, there is so much more media being produced - and it’s all available at the click of a button whenever you damn well please. It can easily become an endless loop of what to watch next. I remember when there used to be 8 channels. You either had to watch “General Hospital” or find something better to do.
Video Game Cheat Codes Spread By Word Of Mouth
You had to call someone's home phone number and talk to their parents first before you could talk to your friend
Video game cheat codes either spread by gaming magazines or by word of mouth. Sometimes that word of mouth was b******t. I'm looking at you Tomb Raider nude cheat code
RSVPing mattered. If you said you were going to be there, you made sure to be there. None of this facebook invites that everyone blows off without any form of social repercussions. If you said you were going to go and didn't go, you were the a*****e and everyone knew it.
No Absolute Memory Of The Internet Cache
People would forget things you did that where maybe not the smartest..
The Effort That People Made To Stay In Touch
The effort that people made to stay in touch. Now, it is effortless, but people don't bother with anything but social media.
News Only Being On At 6pm
News only being on at 6pm. That was it. Now we have 6 hours of local news and 24 hours of cable news. Not being bombarded all day with "news." And when you saw "Breaking News" on the screen you knew some serious s**t went down.
Edit: My old brain interpreted "pre internet" as "when you were a kid". So yeah cable news was a thing ore internet. But you all know what I mean. When I was a kid local news was noon for 30 minutes and 6pm for 30 minutes, then Network news was 6:39 for 39 minutes. I think local might have had an 11pm too but I don't remember for sure.
Innocence. No Easy Access To The Scary Content
The ease at which even a kid can gain access to the scariest of content (or super serious content) is such a drastic change from the 90s early 2000s.