The internet was introduced at the end of the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that a large portion of the world really had access to it. These days, almost everyone in developed countries has internet access, and it has changed a lot since those early days of the 1990s and early 2000s. Let’s take a look at internet history, get a little bit nostalgic, and talk about five things that we miss about those glory days of the world wide web.
In today’s world, online anonymity is a luxury. It’s difficult to keep all of your personal information out of view. While there are still forums like Reddit where you can remain anonymous, there are plenty of others that require you to sign up using your Google or Facebook accounts that have your real name. Because of this, anonymity has been taken away for a lot of people, and that doesn’t even count the number of people being ‘doxxed’ online.
Let’s say you’re a content creator that rubs one viewer the wrong way. That person is likely to attempt to track down your personal information, including your full name and address. It’s scary to think about what people can do with that info, and it wasn’t really something that we saw in the early days of the internet.
Simplicity of Emotes
On every Android and Apple device, you’ll find a variety of emotes to accompany any and all of your messages, comments, and posts. Typically when you’re chatting on the phone, or in person, you can easily read each other’s emotions, sarcasm, and mannerisms. Emojis add a personal touch that you can’t really achieve through plain text.
Back in the glory days of the internet, you had to get creative and make use of the buttons on your keyboard to form simple, yet effective, emotes. Though that era has come and gone, we will never forget the fun we had coming up with the OG emotes.
Social Media Not Being Weaponized
Just about everyone on Earth uses some form of social media. With easily accessible apps, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and various dating apps, there’s an array of alternative forms of communication. Compared to the few select methods of communication available back in the day, like calling someone’s landline, talking in person, posting in online forums, or sending emails.
The problem with social media today is that the more popular it becomes, the higher the chances of coming across internet trolls with bad intentions. Of course, there are always going to be some bad eggs in the bunch, but today’s social media has given more of them a platform to go about their bullying and abuse.
Safe From Being Turned Into a Meme
Memes have officially taken over internet culture. There’s a meme for just about every occasion, that’s happy, sad, funny, or dark. In most instances, memes are harmless fun and provide the masses with laughter. Though, that’s not always the case. Memes have often been weaponized for abuse and bullying toward unknowing targets.
Memes are seemingly harmless, but when an abusive meme gains traction and attention, it can ruin lives. That’s why we miss the good ol’ days of the internet when your misfortune wouldn’t become a meme. Part of that was how few people had cameras rolling 24 hours a day and the amount of time it took to upload a video or make a gif. Now, just about anyone can do it within seconds.
Lack of Advertising/Subscriptions
In the early days of the Internet, almost everything was confined to message boards and instant messaging services. Even when you went to major websites, you didn’t see a whole lot of advertising outside of some affiliate links. While those major websites still have affiliate links that aren’t pervasive, almost everything else is sponsored content. This is especially true when it comes to video and streaming services.
These days, it’s impossible to watch a YouTube video without getting an advertisement, and even the best adblockers can’t stop ads on streaming websites. Plus, almost every big website and streaming service has a subscription service, leading to users getting nickeled and dimed each month on top of paying for the internet.