They grow up so fast, don't they? It just seems like yesterday that the internet was cruising at 56k speeds and loading horribly designed websites. Now, the web is all grown up, but there's been some negative side effects for the sake of progress in the form of ads, dubious data gathering, and hostile trolls.
A few weeks back I asked what things we, as collective parents, would be "awwww"-ing over in the internet's metaphorical baby book. Here are the nine most important memories worth remembering.
Remembering When Email Was Less Aggressive
The excitement of getting an email. I don't remember at what point it went from a novelty to "ugh," but it was probably around when I signed up for more news/weather alerts than a middle schooler needed.
Remembering When the Internet Was Friendlier
I miss the days when people were (for the most part) civil online, when our interactions while connected followed the same set of rules we used in public (i.e. "If I call that guy a name, I'm probably going to get punched in the throat.") Now the grand majority of people have developed two different codes of conduct.
Remembering When Chat Rooms and AIM Messaging Wasn't Creepy
Chatting was fun, without the constant danger of getting pictures of men's lower halves. In the 90's I was a teenager and always felt that other people online were my age or at best 20ish.
via Himiko Hime
I miss how important instant messaging was as a communication medium. Getting home from school and immediately logging into AIM was so routine, and god forbid if your little sister wanted to log in for a few hours. The entire world hinged on my Gateway 3000 desktop, and my dialup internet.
Remembering Those AOL Disks/Soon-To-Be Drink Coasters
I used to work at a computer store back in the early 90's, and what I really miss are all the free very-soon-to-be-reformatted 3 1/2 AOL floppies we would get, followed closely by all the very-soon-to-be-repurposed-to-drink-coasters (typically) AOL CDs we used to get.
via Paul O.
Remembering When P2P Sites Like Napster Were Still Legal (Or LimeWire or Kazaa, etc.)
Yeah, Spotify, Rdio, Netflix, and Amazon are all better organized and more legit ways to stream media (in fact early P2P websites probably help create these services in some ways), but nothing really beat the feeling of slowly watching that download bar fill up and the added excitement of not really knowing what you were getting sometimes, whether an album, movie, or...something else. I don't know your business.
Remembering the Sounds (and Excitement) of Dial-Up
I sort of miss the whole dial-up sequence. Back then using the Internet was an activity, it felt special signing in and hearing those sounds. If I didn't get my cheat codes for Goldeneye before Mom used the phone, I was in trouble.
Remembering Usenet and GeoCities
The biggest loss was USENET. USENET newsgroups were amazing — the most incredible concentration of intelligent thought in the history of mankind. It died in 1992, from the dual blows of connecting AOL and starting the alt.* groups. It was toast by 1996. Nothing now compares to it.
Holy shit, I miss Geocities and all of those free 20 megabyte website hosting options.
via WV Cycling
Holy shit, indeed.
Remembering When Twitter and Facebook Wasn't Everywhere
I miss not having Facebook, Twitter etc shoehorned into every freaking thing. Seems like absolutely every site on the damn internet wants me to like them and follow them on Facebook and those social media plugins most news sites have are damn obnoxious.
Totally agree...but if you could "Like" this post on Facebook, that'd be great.
Remembering the Internet As a Great Digital Frontier
The Internet used to be a place of exploration — its organization was less predictable (you were even compelled to choose a search engine more carefully). You could spend weeks digging into the same topic. Now the Internet is so predictable, and you know your first few results have the best SEO, so they've got to be what you're looking for.
As for 56k speeds, terrible storage, and janky user interfaces—you can still go to hell.