My experience with the early internet was mostly just infuriating my older sister by tying up the phone line so I could slowly download bad quality mp3’s I wasn’t even all that likely to listen to.
Those were the good old days.
But a lot has changed since then. Let’s see what Reddit misses:
1. The simplicity of it
There’s so much about the early internet that I miss, but can’t quite put my finger on.
It totally boils down to this – the look and feel of it was simpler.
It existed for the sake of existing. People were just trying s**t out. It was like going through a sketchbook.
2. Web Rings
You’d find a site you liked, and sometimes at the bottom of the page there would be a link for the web ring. It would take you to a similar site that was usually independently operated. Think Geocities fan sites and the like. This was important, because search engines weren’t nearly as powerful back in the day, and some of the best sites weren’t necessarily ones that would pop up on a search results page.
Thus, web rings. I don’t know that a web ring ITSELF is what I’m missing; I guess it was always sort of a crapshoot, but you’d sometimes find really cool hobby pages and fan pages that way and you wouldn’t necessarily find them any other way in the mid-90s.
3. The Reign of Flash
All the great flash animation sites that YouTube murdered
Homestarrunner Stickdeath Joecartoon Albinoblacksheep Ebaumsworld …ect
I know a lot of us are still around but they’re just not the same or don’t put out content like they used to.
4. MSN Messenger
What I miss about MSN is that you actually talked. You logged on and that meant “hey, I’m here, let’s talk.” Now we are connected 24/7, someone sends you a message, maybe you reply a few hours later, they reply tomorrow… it’s so sporadic.
Man I had some great conversations into the small hours on MSN putting the world to rights.
5. There was less hate
The internet of my twenties didn’t even include AOL and was almost entirely friendly. “Trolls” didn’t really exist back then as they do now. At most people joked about viruses that would “impregnate your sister” and told people that pressing alt+F4 would unlock a secret menu or something.
Now it seems that about half of everything posted is entirely for the purpose of hurting others.
It’s so sad to see what I once thought would ‘bring all of humanity together’ (I was young, idealistic, and naive), turn into a place where you’re judged (and mistreated) according to all the things that don’t matter anyway and are likely beyond your control
6. The commitment
Oddly enough, the one thing I miss the most was making the pages you picked to visit count as it was a commitment to load them.
7. Healthier skepticism
People knowing that the average website was full of crap.
I remember hearing my parents say don’t believe everything you see on the web and now they believe everything they see on the web.
8. P2P file sharing
You could never trust song labels, every single parody song was suddenly Weird Al and it would suck when you thought you found a new or obscure song by a band you loved and it was actually a song you already knew by them or sometimes a song by a different band all together.
That movie that you wanted to download, which was always in several huge parts that would take hours to days to download, ends up being p**n you didn’t want. That p**n that your really wanted, ends up being a beheading video.
It was so chaotic and random and full of viruses that would f**k your computer too. Those were crazy days and you never really knew what to expect, was like the wild west.
9. People having their own websites
now instead of “go check out my awesome homepage that i designed!” its just “plz check out my instagram where i sometimes post pictures of myself or my cat”
10. Computer labs
The whole computer lab playing flash games and being introduced to new ones. They were so basic but the perfect respite from the harsh reality that was middle school.
Favorite game: Yeti toss
11. Finding reviews
I can’t google a product review without the review site also selling the product they are reviewing.
I feel like it’s so hard anymore to find unbiased reviews.
The fun of simply exploring. My friends and I in high school would just type in random words to see what the internet might have in store. Was kind of exciting.
I have so many great memories staying up late chatting with my friends on that.
I remember how fun it was changing up your profile and trying to come up with cool, clever away messages.
14. More friendliness
That is used to be so much more friendly. Yeah you had some trolls, but for the most part people were actively inclusive on forums.
Now it feels like everyone is always at each others throats over the smallest things.
BonziBuddy and Alienware PC pop-up ads giving you a split second panic attack because you thought you just got yourself some kind of computer virus
Those were the good old days…all those centuries ago…
What do you miss most about the old internet?
Tell us in the comments.