Nearly four decades ago, on January 1, 1983, the internet was born. Out of those clunky boxes with very little function outside of running numbers and a few chat rooms, the internet has exploded into what we know it to be today.
We created the changing landscapes of social media, blogs, YouTube, and Google. But what have we lost in the process?
The early days of AOL were simpler and had a very specific aesthetic for its time. There was always something new to discover when searching the World Wide Web. Actually, it was the first time we had connections that were instantaneously world wide.
Now, that marvel is lost on youth who grew up with tiny computers in their pockets. For those of us who remember the 90s internet era, let's take a trip down memory lane.
Redditor scatter82 asked:
"What do you miss about the internet of the past?"
The internet was a wild experience back in the day as everyone was still figuring out what the possibilities really were.
The early YouTube.
"When YouTube was a much smaller community and the popular channels were normal people rather than the influencer types we have today."
"Remember the time when yt had the 5 star rating system? Also there weren't a lot of youtubers that brought content on a regular base. Instead there were a handful of videos everyone knew about."
"Do you remember ad free YouTube? it depresses me like absolute nothing else to learn some of the young'uns here actually don't remember a time where that was the case."
"Miss the days when things weren't scripted and people didn't keep asking for likes and subscribers."
"It's not that they're scripted, most videos have always been scripted, it's that they're too formulaic now. Which is what I think you were getting at."
"Everyone follows the same blueprint to try to get as much ad revenue as possible. Smash like… don't forget to hit subscribe… 2 minutes of content stretched into 10 minutes… And then when they run out of original ideas or get sick of making new content, they start making reaction videos."Giphy
Lost sense of mystery.
"The fact that it still felt like some kind of mystery we had to figure out, there was always another website or something that you didn't know about, you could just kind of find new stuff every day and it felt like you were discovering something, it felt like a process of exploration!"
"Now everything's kind of focused on the same couple of platforms."
"I really miss that feeling of discovery too. Now I just cycle through the same 3-4 apps."
"Mhm, I feel your struggle there, we all do. It's just so strange. But I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing."
"It used to be something to look forward to, you know? Come home from school or wherever like 'what are we going to find today'? Your friends would have found new sh*t too, so you'd all talk about it over the landline phone and you'd have to sit near the phone so you could talk while writing down websites and sh*t."
"I remember one time my friend told me about purple.com which is now a website for some mattress company but back in the day it was... you guessed it, purple. That was it. And I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, someone really bought a whole domain (which felt like a much bigger deal than it does now) just to make a website called purple.com and it was just a page that was purple."
"And just finding so much weird sh*t on the internet that didn't make sense was amazing, especially when it was something small, because it felt like you were a part of a little secret society, or maybe even like you were the sole occupant of this neat little corner of the internet that you found and have now made your own. Like camping points on a trip or something, I don't know, maybe that analogy doesn't make sense in anyone else's mind but it does to me, because it always felt like you were just going around finding new places, cuz that's what websites were, they were places, in a way."
"And that's just not the case in the same way anymore. I still think platforms could count as 'places', especially one like reddit (though it's not as social media as the others). It's just not the same, but also I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It's not like the internet is over, it's just that period of it, right? And it makes sense to be nostalgic about that time, but that doesn't have to mean that today's internet is anything bad. It's constantly evolving, and it's still exciting to see, even if a lot of it is just egregiously commercialized. Because not all of it is. I still find neat little forums and stuff every now and then that feel self-contained, like they're not on the same wide 'internet' as other things are, because even though it feels like the internet might be dominated by certain platforms and websites, the best thing about the internet is that anyone can be on it, and anyone can put whatever they want on it. (It's also simultaneously the worst part of the internet, but that's a discussion for another place and another time.)"
"But my POINT IS that just because the internet isn't what it used to be doesn't mean all of it is objectively bad. Some parts aren't parts that everyone agrees with, that's just how things go when something gets so big and accessible, it's unavoidable, but the internet itself still contains what it used to, and there's always the possibility of people putting up new stuff. We know it's a possibility because it's constantly happening, even right now. And that's encouraging, right? I don't know, I think it's nice."
It feels too corporate.
"The simplicity and fun of it all. Now it feels very corporate, and people are out just to make a buck."
"Perhaps the biggest difference so far. Websites today has ads or something about cookies/subscribing to newsletter 95% of the time."
"I don't even bother reading the news online. It's click bait buried lead filler to get you to scroll past the midroll ad, then one paragraph of actual information, followed by a summary and a pile of ads."
"I read the headlines then look for a primary source like a video or published paper. Cuts out most of the spin and speculation."
"It isn't just the blocking of ads though."
"Old internet was authentic user-generated content. New internet is stuffed with corporate-created search-engine-optimized content."Giphy
The advertisements are incessant.
"No one was tracking you, and everything wasn't monetized."
"Hey, you posted that on another forum too! Buy this cream for $38.22!"
"I was researching an M.2 drive today, found what I wanted and pulled the trigger on Amazon. My wife comes down to me later saying, 'What's an M.2 drive? I'm getting nothing but ads for this.'"
"Apart from the data mining, I don't know why they'd advertise an M.2 drive to a family who had just bought one anyway."
"Because amazon's statistics say that people who just bought something are likely to buy another one. They wouldn't advertise it to you if they didn't think it would work."
"The absolutely tacky color schemes people's sites had. Black background with yellow text with green links? You betcha. A line of animated GIFs for a page break? No problem."
"And FRAMES, lol. List of links on one side loading stuff into a frame on the other."
"Hit counters and guestbooks."
"It really was the digital equivalent to glitter glue, macaroni, & construction paper in the beginning."
"And it was BEAUTIFUL!"Giphy
Chatrooms in the 90s.
"Same. Except I was on them waaay too young, in retrospect."
"I couldn't wait to get home or for my parents to go to sleep so I could go to the teen chatrooms smh."
"AOL AIM username directory so you could IM anyone in the world who was currently logged on and available at that moment. That's how I found a pen pal in 2004 I'm still in low contact with on Facebook now in 2021."Giphy
The internet is a strange place, and it's evolved incredibly quickly over time. What we miss might not be around anymore, but we can still hold onto those nostalgic memories.Initializing Start Up GIF by Alex Bobeda Giphy
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We all need a little wholesome content every now and then. Much of the world, especially right now, can seem very dark and depressing.
It's important to recognize that not all of the world is as scary as it may seem. So we wanted to see what wholesome facts people had to share with us.
In fact, the world "wholesome" literally means "promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit."
Take a minute to enjoy this list of wholesome facts that will just make your heart melt.
Redditor 2ndRockBottom asked:
"What is the most wholesome fact you know?"
You might want to grab some tissues.
A lottery winner and a lucky waitress.
"In 1984, a regular customer at a pizzeria asked his waitress for help choosing his lottery numbers. He won, came back, and tipped her $3 million."
"For eight years, Robert Cunningham was a regular at Sal's Pizzeria in Yonkers, NY. One night, he asked waitress Phyllis Penzo to split the numbers on his card. On April Fool's Day, she was woken up by a phone call from Cunningham telling her he'd won $6 million and she was entitled to half of it and made good on his promise."
"There's a movie about that, right? Early 90's?"
Yep! It's called It Could Happen To You from 1994.
"There was a man from a small rural settlement in Australia (I think) who won $20,000 from a scratch card."
"A news crew reported on it and the chap demonstrated how it works by buying another ticket. When he scratched the ticket, he had won another $50,000."
"Not $50,000. He won $250,000."
"Not just that, I think he had just survived being declared legally dead, right?"
That's right. The man was declared dead and was then in a 15-day coma.
Cows are actually so cute.
"Cows have best friends."
"My parents had cows for many years. They always knew which cows were friends to each other. It was so cute."
"Cows love music."
"They'll drop what they're doing and run over to listen, and studies have shown lower stress levels and higher milk production."
"(Not doubting you) but I'm my experience, cows are just curious creatures. I remember throwing a football with my dad outside and the cows would always gather around to watch. Same would happen if I were playing in the yard. Any activity that wasn't 'normal' brought all the milkshakes to the yard"
"Cows ARE curious creatures. We had them come investigate our campfire one night."
"THAT'S a startling sight. You're drinking and smoking around a campfire with your friends, and suddenly you're in the middle of a circle of 30 cows."
"It was wild."
Happy little trees.
"Bob Ross's voice was intentionally soothing and quiet."
"He was a Airforce Master Sergeant, 'I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way anymore.'"
"My wife and I have been watching Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting on YouTube. If you haven't checked it out, it is really relaxing and sometimes we fall asleep to it on the tv while lying in bed."
"We sometimes like to pick paintings and do a Bob Ross Night. We get out our supplies, some alcohol and some snacks, and we just watch Bob teach us. Some of the paintings do come out well."
More libraries than McDonald's.
"That there are more public libraries in the US than there are McDonald's. I grew up poor and the library was a refuge for me, my library card was the only thing I carried in my first wallet."
"I started taking my kids to libraries like my dad did with me and my brothers when we were kids."
"I f*cking love libraries man."
"Libraries are great! I spent the last 14 years living in a city with an underfunded library system, where I could never find what I was looking for. I moved to a different city that believes in funding public services, and I've been taking full advantage of my local library now."
Animals in mourning.
"Horses mourn the death of other creatures, not just horses. When my daughter was younger we took her to riding lessons. One of the horses stepped on one of the barn cats and killed it. It was buried inside the horse pen and ALL of them, including the younger one that was usually a pita and super playful, were standing around the burial area with their heads down. They were like this for 2 days I was told and this was common for how they deal with the dead."
"Elephants also mourn the dead hence the term 'Elephant graveyard' where relatives pay homage to those that have fallen. It seems the concept of life and death isn't an exclusive human thing."
"Crows mourn the deaths of other crows in a similar manner. They stand in a circle around the deceased and sometimes raise their wings up. Very surreal thing to see. They also remember faces and hold grudges, so be kind to your local crows."
Pets really are healing.
"Interacting with pets causes brain to make oxytocin."
"Where there was a lethal bus accident outside my workplace that had killed 8 passengers including coworkers, our workplace brought in some puppies for people to enjoy to make them feel better."
Mr. Rogers fun fact.
"Every one of the sweaters Mr. Rogers wore on his show were hand knitted by his mom."
"Bonus Neighborhood fact, Mr. Rogers began to include a segment of the show where he fed his fish because a child wrote him, concerned about whether or not they were still alive and well."
"Mr. Rogers kept to a fairly rigid diet and exercise program, in order to consistently weigh 143 pounds. 143 was important to him, because the word 'I' contains 1 letter, the word 'love' contains 4 letters, and the word 'you' contains 3 letters."
"So, 143 = 'I love you.'"
"After he passed away, the Governor of Pennsylvania declared May 23 - the 143rd day of the year - to be '143 Day,' in honor of Mr. Rogers. Citizens are encouraged to show kindness to neighbors on May 23. (And every other day)."
"He responded to every single letter he received, and kept every letter and drawing in a special filing cabinet. He considered every letter and drawing to be sacred."
"He named his puppet King Friday the 13th because he didn't like the negative stigma associated with Friday the 13th, and wanted children to associate Friday the 13th with a friendly puppet rather than a day of bad luck or evil."
"One night, Mr. Rogers was invited to a fancy dinner for PBS employees and executives. He was given a limousine ride to the restaurant. When they arrived, Mr. Rogers asked the chauffer when they would see each other again. The chauffeur explained that he would wait 2-3 hours outside, in the car, then drive him home."
"This didn't sit right with Mr. Rogers. So, he insisted on having the chauffeur join him for dinner."
"On the way home, Mr. Rogers sat in the front seat with the chauffeur, getting to know him better. As the chauffeur told Mr. Rogers what a fan his children were of the show, Mr. Rogers asked the chauffeur if he could meet them. The chauffeur took Mr. Rogers to his own home, where Mr. Rogers met everyone, hung out for a couple hours, and even played piano for them."
"The chauffeur said it was one of the best days of his life."
Some of these really hit hard. If you needed a few happy tears today, we hope this did it for you. There's a lot of difficult news in the world right now and it's important to remember that there are good, wholesome things happening all at the same time.
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Laws exist to maintain order. However, they do not prevent crimes from actually happening, and before any punishments are made, the damage is already done.
Curious to hear about some of the more creepy indiscretions people get away with, Redditor Flytechofficial asked:
"What is perfectly legal, but creepy as hell?"
These things that happen in public restrooms can be considered criminal.
Respecting Splash Zones
"Using the urinal next to me when there were plenty of other choices."
Nightmare For The Pee-Shy
"hanging out in a public bathroom timing how long people pee."
"I swear to God. I did a lot of work in hospitals for a while, big f'king hospitals with tons of bathrooms all over the place. For some God damned reason, regardless of what time or bathroom I selected to take a sh*t in not 30 seconds after I sat down a janitor would knock on the door to clean the bathroom. It's not as if it was one janitor, just some random janitor would inevitably need to clean whatever bathroom I was in as soon as I got comfy. It's like I was being stalked by the janitors."
"So now I'm trying to take a sh*t knowing full well there's somebody out there actively timing how long it takes."
"I was drunk in a casino and went to use the washroom. The floors in there were a polished marble or something. Sitting on the toilet, pants down, my stall neighbour made eye contact with me on the reflective floor tile."
The following examples involving minors have no legal repercussions.
Kids For Show
"Child Beauty pageants."
"Technically, you can stand on the sidewalk and stare into someone's house through a window. It's not illegal as long as you stay off of their property, but it's really freaking creepy."
Keeping Tabs On Someone's Age
"A national newspaper having a countdown for when a child actress becomes 'legal' for sex."
"Answers to questions that will surely come. ....Yes. The Sun (UK). Emma Watson."
The Young Subjects
"When I was a child, we had a creepy horrible neighbor that would harass my family constantly. One of the things he did was stand at the corner of his yard and videotape me playing in a pool with my friends (we were around 8). My parents called the police but were told that it's legal if he's on his property."
These perfectly harmless examples can give you goosebumps.
"Hanging your doll collection from the trees in your yard using string made from human hair."
"I believe the act of cannibalism itself is legal so long as you didn't murder anyone to do it. If your homie gives you his arm to gnaw on, it's fair game."
"Facing the wrong way in an elevator."
I recently treated myself by going to a movie theater after what seemed like a long hiatus for much of the year.
Streaming blockbuster movies from home, while convenient, has never made as much of an impact when compared to the moviegoing experience.
But after my recent trip to our local AMC, I'm beginning to think watching entertainment from the comfort of my quiet home is a much better option.
I forgot that a good majority of audience members are disrespectful and pretty much ignore all the rules—including no texting or talking during the movie.
The normal volume conversations and the number of lit screens from people's smartphone's in my peripheral vision throughout the movie were huge distractions.
Maybe as I'm getting older, my patience has worn thin, or I happened to have a particularly unpleasant experience. But seriously, how can anyone enjoy going to the movies when people are constantly updating their status inside a darkened auditorium?
It should illegal. Rant over.
Shaking hands... what's up with that?
Could this social custom be going out of style given that we're all in the middle of a global pandemic and have become hyperaware of all the germs around us?
And not just that, but just how nasty people are? Why would you want to shake hands with them?
People shared their opinions after Redditor alebenchhe asked the online community,
"What social customs do we need to retire?"
"Making couples feel obligated to have giant, fancy, weddings."
If someone wants that, then more power to them.
But there are indeed people out there who spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to have weddings to please their families... only to divorce later.
"If I take a day..."
"Rest being seen as lazy. If I take a day off of work simply to sleep in and rest at home instead of having to have some sort of big plans or destination it shouldn't be seen as anything less."
"Having to purchase..."
"Having to purchase gifts for extended family that you cannot afford because it is Christmas or another holiday."
Yeah, let's stop that. Not all of us are made of money!
"Though it looks like this custom is fading away during the pandemic...but how about we stop glorifying us "being model employees by showing up to work even while sick?"
I was at a retailer for 14 years, and I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I used to see managers and supervisors dragging themselves to work while sick to please their superiors. In January 2020, I ended up getting the flu from a co-worker that decided it would impress the store manager if she still showed up while sick with the flu.
That culture went away REAL quick when we started getting COVID cases in the store I was at...and I too ended up getting a mild case of COVID. I've called out any time in the past when I felt sick...and I will continue to do so as I normally did."
"I don't create..."
"Worshipping celebrities. I don't get it and it seems to just create tons of problems."
The celebrity worshipping culture, at least in the United States, is insane, and sets people up with rather unrealistic expectations.
"This goes along..."
"That because someone is"family", you should force yourself to spend time with them and be "nice and respectful", no matter what kind of person they are or how they treat you.
This goes along with the enabling acceptance of "that's just how they are" rather than condemning poor behavior choices."
Yes, let's normalize cutting out toxic people from our lives. We'll thank ourselves later.
"Expensive funerals. The funeral industry is insane."
"Discussing salary with co-workers should no longer be taboo."
That's how they get you––it's in your employer's best interest to keep you in the dark, and it's wrong. Many people out there are not aware of their rights in the workplace.
"Giving greeting cards..."
"Giving greeting cards for every single event imaginable. Why pay $5 to give someone a piece of paper that will get thrown out the next day? I'd rather you give me $5 and skip the card."
It's a wild world we live in and social customs can and do change. Life now won't look the same twenty years from now for instance––perhaps for the better? Who knows?
Oh, and sorry, but can we go back to the topic of shaking hands? Let's not do that. Just wanted to be extra clear.
Have some opinions of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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I have a paralyzing fear of death. If I could I would live forever. Have you ever seen the movie "Death Becomes Her?" I would give every penny for that potion. And I wouldn't be all crazy like them.
Live well forever and be happy? It's possible. Even though life is nuts and scary, you're still here. What if there is nothing after the final breath? I don't want to just not exist, while everybody else just gets to keep on dancing.
In my hopes I see a Heaven with ice cream and vodka. So I'm going to hold onto that until eternal life is an option. Let's hear from the gallery...
Redditor u/St3fan34 wanted to discuss life after life, by asking:
What do you think really happens after death?
I feel like if there is nothing after life, it just invalidates life. But maybe I'm just dramatic. I hope there is peace. Thoughts?
Leftoversblack and white two funerals GIFGiphy
"Your family fights for your belongings."
"When we die, the whole world as seen by us, dies together with us."
"Yes it does. As does the entire universe. Only when we are alive can we experience the passage of time. The instant we die the entire universe will experience heat death and cease to be. It my take a million eons but since we can no longer experience time it will be relatively instantaneous."
"It's one of the great wonders of life: What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you. You will find out, among other things, that it will pose the next question to you: What was it like to wake up after never having gone to sleep? That was when you were born. You see, you can't have an experience of nothing. Nature abhors a vacuum. ~Alan Watts"
"When I was much younger, I had a dream where I died. Not a typical dream, not a romanticized dream. It was a dream where I was an archer in a medieval battle. About 5 minutes into the battle, chaos was all around me, and I watched an opposing archer aim and loose an arrow straight into my left eye."
"I remember the sensation of impact, ringing in my ears, and falling to the ground. I remember the warmth of the blood on my face. The feeling of life leaving my body, and the sense of worry evaporating into warmth and peace as the world left behind me."
"I remember waking up shortly after thinking that the feeling and reality of that experience was so vivid and so detailed that it must have been an experience from a previous incarnation hundreds of years ago. From that moment on, I've never feared the actual process of death. I feel like I've experienced it many times before."
EraseComputer Reaction GIFGiphy
"I think one of your best friends delete's your browsing history."
If you love me... rule number one... HIDE THE EVIDENCE!!! Let that be heard far and wide. And dreams, always so intertwined aren't they?
Before & AfterHappy Baby GIFGiphy
"Exactly the same as before you were born."
"We clean the bed and assign it to another patient."
"The REAL reason why nurses are so dark. 90 year old man in hospice got hit by a car on his way to get fitted for his funeral tuxedo, and didn't have a DNR. Kept him alive for four hours, and now it's time to document everything that was done to save his life because there will inevitably be a lawsuit from a family member who has had four years to say goodbye but somehow didn't get to."
I don't know what they mean or how to utilize them. I'm a Buddhist (but a gamer first and foremost) so it's cool you guys made those connections This totally makes up for r/movies continuously banning me."
"I've answered this one before but here it is again. Either two things happen after you die: you either go somewhere or it's oblivion. If it is oblivion, then we're just going back to the same place before we were born and there's nothing wrong with that. We were there for billions or trillions of years, possibly infinity."
"You lose that concept of time since your brain doesn't work anymore so you don't even know it's over. It's not nothing because nothing would be something and that means that you are aware, which you can not be if you're dead. If we do go somewhere, then that's something no one understands because no one has ever come back to tell us."
"Those stories of people coming back after they "died" and "saw stuff" weren't really dead. Their hearts stopped but their brains were still working. If the Universe continues to recycle itself infinitely, then there's a chance we will be reborn or continuously reborn but have no memory of our previous selves."
"When I was a kid I drowned while on holiday with my family, a giant fat man jumped in the pool on top of me and no one noticed till I was on the bottom of the pool. I remember the feeling of my lungs being on fire, then shivering then as everything was going dark a strange sense of peace and I was ok with it, No panic or terror then it went black."
"I was resuscitated at the side of the pool a few minutes later. I remember nothing from the black to being "alive" again. I was around 7 when it happened and since then I've been strangely at peace with the fact that one day I will die and slip into the dark void of nothingness. Hope that helps."
Popcorn?500 days of summer cinema GIFGiphy
"You wake up in a chair in a cinema and learn that the other are past lives of you and you're about to watch your next life very soon on the big screen."
The truth is none of us know the truth. We live everyday with the afterlife being a gamble. And that seems like it's going to have to be enough.