Since its advent way back in the 1960s and its popularization in the 1990s, the internet has long departed its primitive roots and become the most influential technology to grace the human race since the printing press.
With every passing year, the capabilities of just a few years before seem quaint, slow, and clunky.
What used to be an interconnected network of documents using fax machine technology is now a robust invisible universe that facilitates sweeping political action, allows for the creation of multi billion dollar corporations, and even exerts long-term influence on our personal neurochemistries.
It's so easy to take the latest advancements for granted. Some Redditors took a momentary step back and reflected on the earliest days of the internet, before it had already changed the world.
They recalled the silliest idiosyncracies they could.
DevilYouKnow asked, "What was the weirdest part of the early internet?"
"The early days of CSS & HTML with cursor effects, far too many different fonts, visitor counters on every website, inexplicable scrolling text, animated gifs everywhere, etc."
"It was an assault on the senses, but it was also glorious!"
When it was Small Enough
"How AOL didn't use URLs. Every 'website' had a keyword, meaning that every topic literally only had one website."
"I remember when Nickelodeon would constantly promote themselves on TV and said 'Log on to AOL keyword 'Nick!' meaning that that was literally the only place you could see Nickelodeon content."
"Fast" is a Relative Term
"Starting a download before you went to bed so it would be done when you got up the next morning." -- Nightdave
"I've had my taste of that recently. A friend broke his phone so hard, the only thing that still worked to get his files out was Bluetooth. Estimated transfer time to my PC: 9 hours."
"Felt just like downloading Empire Earth again." -- Allegutennamenweg
The Wild West
"I must be older than anyone here, because the 'early days' of the internet was back when years still started with 19. And there were NO RULES."
"There was no online tracking, no ad-bots, just no enforcement of any kind. Essentially the internet then was what the dark net is now. Anything could be found, but only if you knew where to look."
"Search engines we're all but useless and nothing was protected for sh**. A few hours in a dumpster full of paper could get you access to nearly anything."
"That was the early days of the internet."
A Little Too Interconnected
"Telling people not to use the phone because you were on the internet." -- omegaclick
"Downloading a big file when someone picks up the phone. Fffffffffff" -- 1019throw2
"Mom, hang up! I'm on the Internet!!!!" -- philpalmer2
First to Market
"Who here remembers Netscape Navigator being the best browser?" -- UndeadWarlord
"Oh god, I hung on to using it way longer than I'd like to admit!" -- BootlegMickeyMouse
"Just yesterday I was signing up for an account on a company's site and on their recommended software for viewing the site they had Netscape still listed." -- rhen_var
"My friend's mom's reaction when I replaced AOL's 'you've got mail' with 'you've got porn'" -- UndeadWarlord
"I replaced mine with the 'You just got a letter' song from Blue's Clues." -- KnockMeYourLobes
"I had the twang 'message for you sir' from Monty Python and the Holy Grail." -- house_autumn
Before it Owned the World
"Amazon was still a bookstore." -- HumongousBratwurst
"And it would list the best selling books in your location." -- Roche77e
"And it used to have a little monkey swinging on a vine as it's logo" -- watchman28
"My Amazon account, created in early 2001, is older than Billie Eilish..." -- Knauserer
Pining for Old Simplicity
"I dunno. But, I really miss the way recipes used to be shared online. No scrolling through a giant website of background story of the recipe and countless ads."
"It was literally just the text of the recipe, with comments under of how to tweak that recipe."
"We were so spoiled by the simplicity and immediacy of ingredient lists back then and we didn't even know it."
Quite the Scheme
"People printing porn at the library" -- Chunky0P
"Ahem. I had myself a little system."
"I couldn't do it now, but I managed to learn how to read normal text printed in Cyrillic font. Not a different language -- literally just the English text printed in Cyrillic font.
"At the time I couldn't possibly have got hold of a private printer, or indeed a private computer where I could... err... be myself. The University printers at the time were all run by actual staff and you had to collect and pay for your printouts from them."
"My little system allowed me to print out lots of alt.sex.stories content on the University printers and when collecting, claim to my dismay that the printout went a bit wrong, and aww shucks I guess I'd better just pay for the failed printout and I'll take it and use it to wrap fish or something." -- IcyCrust
A Contemporary Edison
"My step dad made a 'receiver' to steal the neighbour's internet out of a strainer covered in tinfoil."
"I'm sure there was more to it but that's how my 12 year old brain perceived it."
Outdated Selling Points
"Idk how weird it is, but does anyone remember the early Road Runner internet commercials where the spokesman bragged about the size of their internet cables compared to dial up?"
Needed a Whole Extra 30 Seconds
"Driving in the car and hearing radio commercials explain how to spell the URL."
"'Now kids, ask your parents for permission to log on and type 'h t t p colon two forward slashes (that's the one that goes up from left to right) double u double u double u dot (that's the period)...'"
"There were websites that posted videos, and they'd describe what's in the video, and how big it is."
"So you'd be able to decide if it's worth waiting an hour to watch it."
"All the random sh** on Limewire under completely different titles" -- pdxblazer
"Limewire was horribly dangerous." -- archavex
"That was like going into a wild orgy without a condom. So many virtual STDs. I think I had Norton antivirus at the time." -- P_elquelee
End of an Era
"I think it's a tie. Either trying to download something like "Barbie Girl" on limewire to make a mix CD you could bring to summer camp and after waiting 10 hours for it download you find out it's just an audio clip of Bill Clinton saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" and having to start all over again."
"OR, it was playing what you assumed was a basic flash maze game or maybe watching a sweet music video that your friend sent you only to be terrified by a picture of Regan from the exorcist popping up and screaming at you when you least expect it."
"Between those two and the Ally McBeal dancing baby, I think that covers all my early experiences of the internet."
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