People Reflect On What They Miss Most From The Early Days Of The Internet
Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

Remember way back when the internet wasn't a flaming dumpster fire?

Yeah, us either.

The internet has always been a mess, but it's also always been beautiful.

It connects people, ideas, senses or humor, creativity! Yes, we've got our fair share of deviants, murderers, and trashbag people, but we've also got decades of wonder to celebrate.

Newbies like to think using the internet for awesomeness is something they came up with, but the old heads are here to tell you the internet has ALWAYS been a complicated crash course in the coolest stuff ever.

So let's hop in the wayback machine and get our nostalgia on.

Reddit user ransom0374 asked:

"What do you miss from early internet times?"

So let's take that walk down memory lane, or if you're new-ish here on planet Earth, this is going to be a fun little "history" lesson.

If you're uncertain where you fall, here's a test:

"Badger, Badger, Badger, Badger..."

If you finished the song, you're probably going to remember quite a few of these...

Away Messages

"AIM away messages saying stupid stuff like 'BRB going to get some bagel bites.' "

- FluffyBoyCheddar

"Don't forget to update your personal profile with Blink 182 lyrics and the initials of your school sweetheart and some ASCII. Browse for a new inappropriate buddy icon and strike up a convo with SmarterChild"

- YOLOSwagbro69


The Unknown

"I miss the wild unknown frontier that the internet was."

"It seemed there was so much discovery to be had on the internet, and if you were good at the internet everyone thought of you as 'Hackerman' and you were like a God amongst your peers."

"It seems like there isn't anything 'new' on the internet anymore. No discoveries to be made."

- SmallTownJerseyBoy


The Irony Is Not Lost On Us

"Variety. There's a popular tweet that says something like 'the internet has turned into four websites where on each one people share screenshots of the other three.' "

"I miss when you could search a term and there would be dozens of sites dedicated to it or forums especially for it. Now it's just ads, Wikipedia, and Reddit."

"Oh, and not having ads shoved down your throat every time you search a term or navigate to a page!"

"I know there were pop ups and banners, which weren't any better. But there was a sweet spot."

"There was a few years there where you could Google something and half the first page WASN'T sponsored ads that had nothing to do with what you looked up. And you could go to a website and it DIDN'T block the page with a full screen ad asking for your email to join their mailing list or save 10% on their merchandise."

- SociallyInept2020


Figuring It Out

"That all the webpages were just random people trying to figure out HTML."

"There really wasn't a corporate presence at all. It was just a place for people to experiment."

"You could click on a button and make a cardboard hand wave at someone's cats. You could dispense a coke from a machine in some dorm. It was dumb and fun."

- diegojones4


Endless Learning

"The learning was endless."

"There were almost an infinite source of information from all over the world. If you wanted to find something all you had to do was search for it in Ask Jeeves or whatever and you'd find any website that had ever mentioned that thing."

"There were more than 10 different websites. And at least it didn't feel like I was being forced to sign up for a subscription after every click."

"There were so many fun, cute stores to shop. Now it feels like everyone dresses and decorates the same."

"I miss a lot of things about the early internet. I'm probably wrong, but it just felt safer than it does now?"

- thatgirlfromthething


Making Friends

"I was in my late teens when the internet was becoming accessible to everyone. Our one household computer was in the kitchen & facing in a way so anyone coming in could see your screen."

"I remember looking at someone's website and my Dad passing by to get something to eat, asking me if the person on the website was my friend."

"I miss those old days! The internet seemed endless & friendly."

- LuciousOfBorg


A Base Level For Participation

"Most people were smart."

"In the early days (by far) most people on the internet were in college, either as a teacher or student. Beyond that, people had to to be in a lab or make their computer talk to a connected computer which was not so easy in the old days."

"It acted as a sort of intelligence barrier one needed clear to participate in internet things."

- tsoldrin

"Higher barrier to entry."

"I remember the fond days of SLIP and Trumpet Winsock when you had to know at least a little about tech to get on and participate."

"There was still stupidity, but it just wasn't as loud as it is now."

- dramboxf

"In the very very early days, pre-AOL, you needed skill and knowledge to get online."

"Then AOL came onto the scene an d anyone could get online at the push of a button."

- ChaserNeverRests


Go Away Now

"I miss when what happened on the internet, stayed on the internet."

"You could turn off the beige box and go about the rest of your day without it affecting you."

- Own-Positive22

"The fact that is only existed on a big computer in the house, as long as no-one was on the phone. It wasn't some all-encompassing thing."

- dienices

"The internet not following me around. When you logged off, you effectively put the internet away."

- upthecountry


It Used To Be...

"How people used to treat it."

"The internet was not just a novelty, but an amazing piece of technology that let anyone share anything. It was so wholesome and loving, with everyone still being amazed at what we could do now."

"Now? There's so many websites that are designed to make you angry and radicalize your beliefs. It's quantity over quality."

"There was a time when nobody on Reddit shared politics, when Facebook was for socializing, when YouTube was where people uploaded stuff they were passionate about."

- CameOutAndFarted


We Used To Love Yahoo

"Yahoo Answers"

- BeEccentric

"Yahoo Pool"

- inaclick

"I can't remember what it was called, but Yahoo had this great music video program where it showed popular artists, and some very unknown folks."

"I discovered some of my favorite artists having it play in the background all the time."

- AtheneSchmidt

"Launchcast/Yahoo Radio. It was revolutionary for music streaming and the 1-5 star system worked really well. I preferred it over Pandora's up/down system."

- TibbarSnook


On a personal level, I want to go on record and say MusicMatch was the greatest music program in the history of life.

It just was.

I will die on this hill.

It was dopeness in all forms. MusicMatch Jukebox? Dope. Yahoo MusicMatch? Dope.

So what relics from Ye Olde Internet are you passionate about? Sound off in the comments!

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