15 Examples of How Different Life Was Before The Internet

Before the internet, life was very different than today. Although some things have not changed like eating, other aspects of life then are unrecognizable today.
Christopher McFadden

Life before the internet for everyone, including for engineers, was very different from today. Many who lived through these 'Dark Ages' will tell you how life seemed to be less busy, less stressful, and, frankly, more enjoyable. 


But, of course, other things were a lot harder. We have never had an easier time accessing any information, shopping, work, or start a business. Here we've collected some of the funniest, and most poignant, tweets, memes, and other images that sum up life before the 'net'. So enjoy.

1. Amazon was just a river

before the internet amazon
Source: Alexander Gerst/Flickr

Life before the internet certainly was a more innocent time. For many of us old enough to have lived before its existence, statements like the above show just how much things have changed. 

life before the internet mixtapes

Source: thechive

Long before Spotify, mp3's, or peer-to-peer file sharing existed, you had to either save up some money to buy official copies of songs or tape them off the radio. Many of us who lived before the internet would spend hours waiting for that one particular tune to play and hurriedly press the record button on time.

Sometimes we were 'thrown a bone' and could tape the latest top 10, 20, or 100 charts but for those less popular tunes, you had to put in the effort. The youth of today will never understand the satisfaction of perfectly timing it to cut out the DJ's often inane contributions. Dark days.

3. You had to leave the house to socialize

life before the internet shopping
Source: D K Joinery/Twitter
life before the internet dating
Source: thechive

Long before the internet, if you wanted to go on a date you'd either have to pluck up the courage to ask in person, send the request by proxy (usually your long-suffering best-friend), or better yet, slip them a pre-date questionnaire.

Of course, this still goes on today but to a lesser extent, thanks to apps like Tinder. The internet has changed the dating game forever

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5. Encyclopedias, the library, and Encarta '95 were Google

life before internet encarta
Source: Ammon Beckstrom/Flickr

Long before Google was even a glint in Sergey Brin and Larry Page's eyes, you had to work to find information. There used to be things called books, specifically encyclopedias, buildings with books (called a library), and for those more tech-savvy there was the mighty Encarta '95.

Those were dark times when you needed to actually search, and read, through reams of text for the information you're after. How things have changed. 

Of course, it had its benefits. It would take an equally incredible amount of effort for someone to check any statements of fact if not common knowledge - which was handy at times. 

6. Web design was exclusive to arachnids

life before the internet web
Source: Soda Creek Digital/Twitter
life before the internet office
Source: Andy Nolan/Twitter

Office life before the internet was a lot harder than today. If you wanted to look at cute cat pictures, and still look like you were working, you had a tough time. 

Activities, like staring out the window, or those 'inspirational' posters was a much riskier way to waste time in the office. Today, you can check out that latest funny meme or watch videos on YouTube whilst appearing to be hard at work.

Procrastination has never been easier — aren't we lucky.

8. Social media posts were actually posted on a real wall

life before the internet posting
Source: StirlingUniArchives/Twitter

Before the internet, if you wanted to put up some information for everyone to see you actually needed to physically stick something to a wall. Yes, a hardcopy post needed to be printed, carried somewhere, and stuck to a noticeboard, wall, or another surface.

What a concept!

However, this didn't mean that you wouldn't receive some less than favorable feedback from some people — just like today. Oftentimes other nefarious members of the public could, and often would, deface you finely crafted notice, or scrawl childish imagery on it. 

Some things never change.

10. Mobile gaming was very different indeed

before the internet snake
Source: MJ Tube/YouTube

When mobile phones have first released, the idea that you could play games on them was unthinkable. But when the first Nokia came with games like "Snake", it would change the world of gaming forever.

Today, with games like World of Tanks, it is amazing to think people before the internet could actually glean enjoyment out of them. The post-internet generations will never understand the satisfaction of playing them — a very real shame.

11. Did we mention things called books?

life before internet books
Source: VINTAGE Books/Twitter

Before the internet, people used to have to research stuff in books. But these strange objects could also be used for entertainment.

Yes, that's right, people used to actually read books for exposure to immersive storylines and fantasy worlds. Incredible.

12. Multiplayer games needed a table

life before internet subbuteo
Source: Aston Villa/Twitter

Who remembers board games or Subbuteo? To play multiplayer games before the internet, you actually needed to meet up with friends to play sports or board/tabletop games.

Although board games have been around for a long time, the 70s to '90s saw an explosion in tabletop games like Subbuteo and war games like Warhammer and Warhammer 40K.

Although their popularity did fall after the mass-adoption of the internet, they have started to see something of a revival in recent years. May it continue and prosper!

13. Trolls were mythical creatures

before the internet trolls
Source: loloieg/Flickr

Before the internet, a troll was something out of children's stories, or those ugly child's toys Troll Dolls. Not just that, you could actually politely disagree with someone in public. 

Whilst the internet has opened up a literal world of opportunity to us all, the anonymity of some platforms seems to bring out the darker side of human beings. How some behave on the internet today would be unthinkable in the world before the internet.

14. People used to send letters not emails

life before the internet emails

Source: benhallbenhall

Long before the internet people had to use a tool called a pen and another piece of equipment called 'paper' to actually write messages to one another. The finished message would need to be enclosed in more paper, called an envelope, postage needed to be paid, and the letter was sent and delivered by people.

The entire process would take days, and you could never be sure the recipient received it, let alone read it. Today we are spoiled with something called 'email' that does all this at the speed of light. 

15. Selfies in the '90s required sophisticated tech

In the distant bygone days of the 1990s, if you wanted to take a selfie, you needed some highly sophisticated tech. Whilst some could use a Polaroid camera, others found more ingenious methods of achieving this feat. 

One particularly ingenious method was to use a GameBoy, Game Boy Camera, and Game Boy Printer setup.

Kids today will never understand let alone actually care.

And that is all folks.

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