People Confess What They Miss Most About The Early Days Of The Internet
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 BobedaGiphy
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We've all made clumsy mistakes that we know could have been avoided had we used a little bit more good judgment and common sense.
Thankfully, these silly mistakes don't usually harm others or ourselves.
This is why it's hard to see people knowingly perform reckless or dangerous activities which they know might have serious consequences.
While we don't usually wish these people ill, we also have a hard time feeling bad for them, as they knew what they were getting themselves in for.
As some people might say, they "f*cked around and found out" or "play stupid games, win stupid prizes."
What is a great example of 'f*ck around and find out'"?
Never Be Afraid To Seek Help
"Hey remember how they said drugs can ruin your f*cking life?"
"Turns out that was true."- WowAPenguin
They Put Up Those Walls For A Reason
"People who die after going over the safety fence at zoo, or basically any safety fence."- Solid_Refrigerator16
They Can't Say They Weren't Warned...
"Those who go deep cave diving and ignore the warning signs."- somekindofmiraclecave GIFGiphy
Never Stand Behind Them...
"Jacka**es who come to the stables I ride at and act weird around horses."
"Those animals play no games."- clem82
Is It Really Worth It?
"Running of the Bulls in Spain."
"The videos each year of the people getting completely annihilated by the bulls is a great example."- getagrooving
Never Get Too Big For Your Britches...
"When I was young I boxed and eventually got into golden gloves."
"I got a few wins under my belt and said I wanted to fight someone legit, someone who would be a real challenge."
"An opportunity came up to fight someone very good, a guy who'd eventually win regional and state and later go pro."
"At this point I'd not lost or even been knocked down, so my confidence was high, that is until he knocked me the hell out very early in the fight and taught me that there are BIG differences in the different talent levels of fighting."-Redditepisode 2 boxing GIF by Archie ComicsGiphy
Sharks might be the least of your problems...
"Go swimming outside the flags in Australia."- d*ckflip1980
"When people were dressing up like clowns to scare people."
"It kinda stopped after one got shot."- BigMaraJeff2
Or With Anything Dangerous...
"Playing with electricity."- tlmega124Jack Nicholson Hair GIF by MOODMANGiphy
They Won't Harm You If You Won't Harm Them...
"People that approach wildlife in state parks."- Rider-of-Rohaan42
Best To Keep Hands And Feet Out Of Moving Vehicles...
"Your boss at the warehouse is constantly telling you to keep your feet within the confines of your vehicle, and not to hang them, and to stay clear when walking, because if you don't, a 6,000 pound+ vehicle impacting a fixed surface will turn your foot into spaghetti sauce."
"Do not f*ck around, ever, with industrial vehicles."
"Follow all guidelines, always."
"A powered ride-on pallet jack weighs as much as 2-3 small cars, when fully loaded."
"It will absolutely ruin you if you don't operate safely."- SpaceCorpse
Still Probably Best Not To Do It At All!
"My uncle was a high-profile defense attorney specializing in folks who were arrested for drug trafficking."
"The greatest advice he ever gave to me was, if you want to smuggle ANYTHING, you can do it one time."
"After that, you will be caught and you will be f*cked."- redoctober2021
Confusing On So Many Levels...
"Trying to armed rob a gun store."- VagabondTexan
You'd Think People Would Have Learned By Now...
"Taking Julius Caesar hostage."- EgoSenatuscaesar GIFGiphy
No One Is Invincible...
"Ye saying he can’t be dropped by Adidas, then immediately getting dropped by Adidas."- Admin_Untold
It's one thing to make a mistake after being a bit too hasty, and not giving something enough thought.
But if you end up in the ER after being urged not to do something, and well aware of what might happen, don't expect too many flowers...
Being horny can lead to some questionable decision-making.
Something happens to the brain when blood is flowing to other regions of the body.
They should discuss this in health class.
It's perfectly normal, but we have to learn how to deal.
Redditor Sir_Baconstrips wanted to see who was willing to discuss actions made while randy, so they asked:
"What's the biggest mistake you've made because you were horny?"
I can't tell you mine, because my mom might read this. But Reddit was more than happy to share.
History HelpHide Reaction GIF by florGiphy
"I browsed porn and then I asked my mom how to delete the history."
What was that?
"Probably my most embarrassing moment. Was on my work computer (family business so nothing locked) and it was a super slow day and I was alone. Anyways was doing a classic 3 min facebook check and scrolled down for a second and saw the news post about Adriana Chechik injuring her back in a foam pool. Figured top comments on that would be golden. Read one funny one that said 'her and her scene with [performer I can’t remember] is still goat.'"
"Never heard of said performer so I got curious and google her. Of course photos never do justice, had to see the performance ya know? So I clicked a random video, quick glance and thought 'meh' and was about to close the tab before I noticed my mouse twitch on the screen… What was that? No.. that wasn’t mouse error, that was someone… then within seconds I realized the accountant who taps in remotely to finish work came in at that exact moment that I had a browser open for less than 60 sec."
"The worst wart was I could have sworn I had all those remote services off, but she tried to tap in for over an hour and must of did something to wake splashtop (probably had it on some type of standby mode). She even called earlier but I saw a random number and was speaking with a client and ignored it."
"Anyways, decision time, do I call her and play it off as nothing or apologize? Naturally as a fearful 28 year old I play off as nothing. I call, no answer… then a few minutes later i get the call back and her words after exchanging 'hellos … are you finished with whatever you were doing…' still burns me."
"Let my (ex) boyfriend dry-hump me for an hour on a bench outside after summer school."
"The bad news: this bench behind our school was also beside a swimming pool. Where parents were taking their children for swim lessons. Eventually a staff member came out and yelled at us for being inappropriate."
"I still have shame flashbacks today, over 10 years later."
"I had a one night stand with a guy who was, in retrospect, seriously self-conscious about his penis size and kept going on about how if it was on the small size it was just because he has to have sex with it a few times and it would gradually get bigger until it was it’s 'true' size. I really didn’t care."
"But then to make himself feel better he turned it around and started talking about how big and wide my vagina was but kept reassuring me that it was ok because he liked the challenge. I wish I had snapped my legs shut and given him the boot right then and there."
In San DiegoNo Money Bangladeshi GIF by GifGariGiphy
"Lost my entire tax refund and got my phone stolen at a strip club in San Diego."
Always check your pockets on the way out.
The RewardHappy We Did It GIF by StoryfulGiphy
"Hooked up with a girl at a party. Just kind of bored, drunk, and horny. Having to go to the doctor for a case of pubic lice was my reward for poor self-control."
"I got my first serious gf in high school. She was two grades below me. So when I finished third year and moved 500 km south we was still a couple. I was so in love (and most of all horny) I commuted every. Single. Weekend. And I was poor. So I took the bus to the nearest station after school. Waited for the long distance bus for 4-5 hours."
"Went to a larger city to hitchhike my way there. I was there Friday night or Saturday morning. Locked ourselves in her bedroom and went at it until Sunday morning. I made my way down to school again and went to class straight from the bus Monday morning. This went on for almost a year…"
I'm OutChris Pratt Running GIF by Parks and RecreationGiphy
"Was trying to get with a girl in college. We were texting and I asked her what she was up to, she said she was training for a marathon and going to the gym and asked if I wanted to come."
"I ended up running 9 miles before I tagged out. So now I know how far I'd go to have sex it's up to 9 miles."
Lord the things people will do when slightly turned on.
Why in this day and age are people still taking nudie pics without triple-checking the recipient?
Why take the gamble?
And half of the time we hit send, mistakes get made.
One minute you're feeling sexy, the next minute grandpa is having a stroke.
Redditor Im_A_Freakin_Joke wanted to hear about the times people have sent photos to the family that left everyone SHOOK, so they asked:
"Redditors who accidental sent a family member a nude, what was the aftermath?"
I have done many things, but I never allow a snapshot.
GrossVacuuming Clean Up GIF by MashedGiphy
"'You should clean your room before you take that.'"
"I meant to send it to someone on WhatsApp that I was dating at the time and didn’t realize I accidentally sent it to my brother, their names were next to each other in my chat list and I chose the wrong one. I frantically called my sister in law and told her what happened and begged her to go into his phone and delete the message with the photo."
"This is before WhatsApp added the functionality to delete your own messages. She was so sweet and understanding and deleted the message. I was so embarrassed. To this day she has kept my secret, this happened five years ago."
"For context, my mom had some life-threatening medical issues when I was a kid, so there were a few month+ long periods where we rarely saw her. One night, I got a text from her that says 'send me a pic of u in bed."
"I thought she wanted a picture of me and my dog snuggling, as he slept with me and was the cutest sleeper. I usually sent her one every few days, even when she was home. It also doubled as her way to make sure I was following my bedtime."
"I was taking the picture, and I get a follow-up 'ignore that' text. At the same time, my dad opens my door so hard the hinges break. He says 'you get a text from mama?' I say yeah, and he says, 'it wasn't meant for you.' And leaves. I felt weird about it for days, even though it was years before I figured it out."
Leave it there...
"I happened to live across the street at the time and a dirty message meant for my now wife was sent to my mother! Luckily for me my mom is notorious for ignoring her phone so I sprinted across the street and said 'hey where is your phone' she told me it was on her desk so I calmly walked over unlocked it and deleted the message. In response to the look of confusion I told her 'deleted a message that was meant for now wife...' And left it at that."
AHHHH!!!! NO!Awkward Episode 1 GIF by HeelsGiphy
"One time my dad accidentally texted me 'sex if the Patriots win' and I still don’t believe I have recovered."
Mom and dad have their own lives.
DisconnectGIF by NETFLIXGiphy
"I didn't accidentally send a nude, but my phone did auto upload ALL my pictures when I connected it to my mom's computer. I'm no longer allowed to connect hardware to my mom's computer."
"I gave my sister my old Iphone (I’m 25, she’s 22). She didn’t realize that her photos were uploading to my cloud and when I went to send a photo to a coworker, at work mind you, I see her pasty a**. I immediately text her and was like STOP TAKING PHOTOS. She called me and asked if I was okay and I told her what was happening. She responded with 'My a** look good though,' and I died laughing. Love my sis, but Christ."
"I didn’t sent a nude. I was in the shower, about age 15, and I heard the phone ring. My best friend had a habit of calling while I was showering. So, I bolted out naked as the day I was born to grab the phone before she hung up. I didn’t realize pretty much my entire dad’s side of the family was visiting my terminally ill mother."
"They saw it all. My aunt jokingly said, 'Well, dang, I didn’t know there was gonna be a show.' And someone said, 'we were just joking when we said you’d grow up to be a stripper.' I had to do a walk of shame back to the bathroom as well."
"It was laughed off and it hasn’t been brought up since."
Let me see...
"Sent a pic of my boobs to my mom. Managed to convince her I was trying to take a pic of what I thought was a lump but ended up dropping my phone and sent it while fumbling. Which has happened before. But then she made me show her where I thought the lump was so that was very awkward."
Recover Modedelete black and white GIFGiphy
"I once sent a pic to a GF in college when we were home for break… only I searched her contact by last name and accidentally sent it to her mom!"
"Thankfully it was late and she was able to sneak into her parents’ room and delete it before they saw."
What have we learned?
At the very least, triple-check who you are sending it to one whichever app you use for that sort of thing.
There is so much to learn in the world, it's impossible for one person to know absolutely everything there is to know.
But there are certain things, like common phrases and idioms, that everyone seems to use that might be a little embarrassing to not understand until later in life.
Redditor Curious-2577 asked:
"What's something you learned 'embarrassingly late' in life?"
"My sister was in her fifties when she found out the meaning of, 'You have an addictive personality.'"
"She thought after all these years of therapy that it meant that people were addicted to her personality."
"We laughed hysterically when we talked about this (in a very sad way)."
"I thought that horses had toes until I was 22. I thought the hoof was a 'horseshoe' and the toes were tucked inside."
"How did I learn how wrong I was, you ask?"
"I was walking past a cavalry museum and saw a horse statue and loudly remarked, 'It must hurt so bad when they fold a horse’s toes to put them into the shoe!'"
"Dozens of horse enthusiasts turned and looked at me with wild bewilderment in their eyes."
"The saying is, in fact, 'Nip it in the bud' and not 'Nip it in the butt.'"
"A few months ago, two of my colleagues both handed in their notice at around the same time."
"I kept reading/hearing the sentence, 'They’re both moving on to pastures new’ being thrown about the office in the weeks leading up to them leaving, and I hadn’t heard this phrase before and thought that was the name of the rival company that they were going to, like, 'Pastures New.'"
"I thought it was weird that nobody was talking about how they were both leaving for the same company."
"I was in the car with one of the two people who were leaving and said, 'So where is it that you and X are going to be working? Is it...’"
"And just before I could embarrass myself and say ‘Pastures New,' they interrupted me and said they’re not going to the same place and asked me where I had heard that."
"I think at that moment, I realized I was stupid and didn’t mention it again."
"I think I was in college when I realized that Mario and Luigi are plumbers. I thought they just went and up down these tubes just because that was the theme of the game."
"That Bonsai are not a species of tree, but a way to grow them. Any tree can be a bonsai."
Houston, We Have a Problem
"Houston is not the name of the guy astronauts talk to."
"I learned that pork and beans are not called 'cowboy beans.' I was 18 and asked a grocery store clerk to help me find the 'cowboy beans.'"
"We were looking everywhere and I was getting frustrated because I know that every store carries these beans. After a while, I picked up a pork and beans can with a picture and said, 'See, they look just like this!'"
"He said, 'You mean pork and beans?'"
"Then I realized that my mom called them that so that I would eat them."
"The look of disappointment from that grocery store clerk haunts me to this day."
"Let me tell you about how I thought you were awarded a 'Pullet Surprise.'"
Rum and Coke
"Not too late in life, but I thought my parents were making 'Roman Cokes' until I went to college."
"Which, I think is a much better name for the drink (Rum and Coke) anyway."
Oh No, Not Acoma!
"That a coma was 'A' coma. Until I was probably 19 or so, I thought it was 'acoma.'"
"I thought you fell into acoma."
It Must Have Been a One-Way Trip
"My parents were divorced the whole time and my mom was not, in fact, taking a vacation, lmao (laughing my a** off)."
"I live near the Hospital for Joint Diseases… when I was a kid, I thought was a special hospital for people who had two or more different diseases at the same time."
"Moving cross-country, driving east to west, and crossing from Idaho to Oregon, I noticed huge fields with signs for the Ore-Ida Potato company."
"So I was in my early 20s when I figured out Ore-Ida wasn’t just a brand name but was because their potatoes came from Oregon and Idaho."
"When I was really young, my sister told me she threw her guts up. So I was really afraid of vomiting my entire insides up for years."
Some of these really had us laughing as we realized the revelations some of these Redditors were having.
But when we're really honest with ourselves, we probably didn't figure out some of these until later, too.