It's easy for many to forget how long the internet's actually been around. In our modern era of using social media for everything and maintaining connections with our loved through a small computer in our pockets what slips our mind is we used to receive CDs allowing us 5000 free hours of America Online.

So, yeah, internet is a much different place now than 10 years ago, so let's look back on what it might have been like for some people.

Reddit user, u/slclgbt, wanted to hear about the way back times when they asked:

What is your favorite moment from internet history?

Getting In Touch From All Over


A radio station here in Dallas had recently (mid-1990s) started streaming online. The announcer was describing how amazing it was to get Emails from listeners from literally all over the world. Her favorite was two boys who liked the station's music, but what really fascinated them were the traffic reports. They'd spent their entire lives on some little island in the Pacific, and the thought of a line of cars several miles long absolutely blew their minds.


Or How 99% Of Music Traveled In 2001


It was also responsible for giving the family computer AIDS.

But boy did it download.


When Invitations Mattered

The launch of Gmail - 1GB of space?!


Totally! Remember when you had to be invited to use it?


Yep, invites were so valuable. You had 5 invites to give away. I had to choose who my best friends were very carefully.


Authenticity, Before The Corporations Got Involved

Early YouTube, like 2007ish.

Videos on it were more authentic and captured real life back then. Now it's literally a market.


And the fact that you could have video responses to videos! Me and my friends used to make videos in 2007 and every single one would have a video response of just a black screen and a disguised voice saying he was coming to kill us. Freaked us out, turns out it was one of our friends who was making videos with us the whole time. Our stupid selves really thought a stranger was stalking our 15-view videos.


Keyword: Potential

I remember the night Princess Diana died. The news broke on the internet a few hours before it hit the news. It was crazy. Not necessarily my "favorite" moment, but stands out as the first real time I saw the potential of the internet to distribute information much faster than news.


Everyone Got A Million Of Those Little Discs


1994. Got AOL in high school and was pretty depressed. An unknown 15/F/TX literally saved my life by talking to me all night long and wouldn't let me sign off and take some pills. She even PMed me every day for the next 2 years to make sure I had someone to look forward to talk to and to listen. Best damn friend and internet moment I could have asked for. Maybe not historical, but the most important internet moment in my history...

To answer a couple questions:

  • no we never met in person, but she knows why. We kept in touch for a long time and really just grew apart. No hard feelings, it just happened. It doesn't change what she did or what it meant.
  • no, it's not fake. There are some things that we just can't say in person. I had a great upbringing and have a wonderful family. I didn't want to disappoint them with my thoughts of myself as a teen. I was lucky that a complete stranger listened on the right day and I had access to the tool that made it possible (even with my 28.8 modem).

Before Twitch Was Twitch

TwitchPlaysPokemon when it first started. It was such a revolutionary thing and everyone was watching to see how it would go. Anticipation for other applications of the concept ran high.

Unfortunately, it was just a short fad and nothing more.


At Least He Has Chicken



Omg, he just ran in.


Taking On The Man


There was a time when the internet felt like the Wild West. Corporations were largely ignoring it and people were making all sorts of content out of passion, not because they wanted to make money.

It felt like all digital products and information in the entire world was available for free through either torrent or the Usenet. Along with the great availability came great risk. If you weren't smart, a song download could end up being a virus that wiped your hard drive!

You could easily hack websites and often even databases and systems. The government was pretty ignorant about all of it, so if you were even moderately careful and not attacking important government sites or financial institutions, it was very low risk. I never did any black hat stuff, but I loved finding exploits and poking around systems as an unauthorized user.

Blogging wasn't evolved yet, so everyone made really awful websites, full of great content. The Internet as a whole was about concepts and ideas, not people and products. Of course as more people started getting online, the companies started paying attention and then came MySpace. After MySpace was created, normal every day people started flocking to the Internet. With this massive influx of users came new laws, and new advertising. The new content was now commercial when it wasn't egotistical.

So I suppose for me, that moment of Internet history I love the most is right before MySpace became popular. It was probably best about 2 years before MySpace when we were taking on DRM, the RIAA, the MPAA and corporations in general, and feeling like we were winning. Anonymous was active and seemed untouchable. People all across the globe were helping NASA search for extraterrestrial life in a giant hive project called SETI. Everything felt new and free!

As an aside, and their related forum and IRC was bad a--. I made a bunch of friends there that I kept in contact with for years.


Of Course, Not All Bits Of The Internet Are Pleasant...

My favorite moment is when one guild in World of Warcraft held a gigantic memorial service for one of their people who stroked out and died. It was huge. There were dozens of people there, all just paying their respects ... And then another guild came and crashed it.

Don't get me wrong, it was a terrible thing they did. But it's hard not to crack up when the action starts to the tune of Scat Man:

And to be fair, holding any kind of event on a PvP server without posting guards or scouts is a big no-no and begging for disaster.


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