Whether you think life was easier back then, or better now, the Internet has created a sea change in the way we live our lives. Let’s take a look at the way things were before the Internet took over our lives.
When I was a teenager back in the 1980s, the Internet didn’t exist. Imagine, people walking around without iPhones glued to their hands. There was no email, no texting, no Facebook. How did we ever survive?
In 1995, Netscape introduced the first Web browser, which enabled anybody with a computer and Internet connection to “surf” the World Wide Web. Still, most people didn’t have readily available Internet access in their homes until well into the new millennium.
Fast forward to today. Most of our parents, if not grandparents, are now connected to the Internet via high-speed WiFi connections. Things have changed so fast, it’s hard to remember what life was like a mere 15-20 years ago.
Let’s take a look at the way things were before the Internet became a part of our lives:
1. Apples were something that grew on a tree. Amazon was a river in South America. And a tablet was the pill form of an Advil or Tylenol.
2. Computers were large clunky boxes relegated to libraries, offices and college computer labs. Laptops didn’t come around until the 1990s. To save a document, you relied on a floppy disk to do the job.
3. “Chatting” was something you did with a friend over coffee.
4. To communicate with friends and family who lived far away, you hand wrote letters and mailed them at the post office.
5. To make a phone call, you used a landline phone. You know, the kind that was attached to the wall of your kitchen and used metal wire lines for transmission. If you wereout of the house, you had to find a payphone. Cell phone usage didn’t become widespread until the 2000s.
6. To look up phone numbers, you called 411 or used a phone book.
7. People would actually answer the phone when you called, since voice mail and answering machines were not around to “leave a message at the beep.”
8. Libraries were filled with books and encyclopedias that you’d have to read when you were writing a research paper. No “Googling” or searching the Web for answers.
9. Buying music meant going to the record store and buying a record, CD or cassette tape and playing it on your record player, Walkman or Boom Box. Going to the record store to pick out a new album was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends.
10. You used paper maps to navigate your way on the roads. No GPS back then.
11. Parents couldn’t track their kids with “Find My Phone” or other GPS cell phone-tracking apps. (Thank God!)
12. If you needed money, you had to walk into a bank and make a withdrawal. ATM use didn’t become widespread until the late 1980s.
13. If you wanted to talk to many friends at the same time, you had to be in the same room with them. No instant messaging back then.
14. Parents picked up their kids at a set time and location. If you needed a ride, you were there waiting. None of the current, “I’ll text you when I need a ride, Mom.”
With this in mind, can you dare to imagine what the world will look like 20 years from now?