Life Before the Internet

It’s fair to say one of the main inventions to change the way we live was the internet. At the time we probably didn’t realise the impact it would have on our lives and how it would change the world as we know it. Children nowadays will never a time before we had access to anything and everything online. Below we look at some of the main things to have changed thanks to the internet and how we managed before.

Nowadays it takes matter of seconds to get the song you want, download it and have instant access to it from multiple device, usually for a matter of pence. There are the streaming services that you can pay a set monthly fee to and have access to hundreds of thousands of songs instantly.
Before the internet your choices were limited. CD’s were the norm but CD players were big and bulky and didn’t fit in your pocket. Plus they skipped if you were running. Battery life was also an issue too with literally minutes or a few hours at most available. Before that you had to play the radio charts game. Recording your favourite new song onto tape from the radio whilst trying not to get the DJ’s voice talking in. Only the skilled manage to do this. Plus you had to wait for sometimes hour son end before the song you wanted was played and radio stations were few and far between back then too.

People today, more so kids see socialising as spending time on Snapchat, Tik Tok, Insta and the rest. Group chats and zoom parties being the norm even before the lockdown earlier in the year. Pre-internet we had to leave the house to socialise. Meeting in parks, bus shelters and sports fields to spend time with friends and chat. In those days parents punished naughty kids by grounding them or keeping them in, nowadays for some it’s a feat to get children to leave the house.
There weren’t even mobiles to use to chat and with landlines not being the cheapest, hour long calls like today did not happen much. We had to arrange via a quick call where to meet and then turn up, it was that simple.

It’s fair to say the internet revolutionised the holiday industry. What with Trip Advisor playing a huge part too in our choices. When there was no internet we had to rely on travel agents on the high street to guide us to the right destination for our needs. Word of mouth played a big part with recommendations from friends or family. We did have Ceefax and Teletext which was a TV PC like screen advert service that displayed holidays and prices with a number to ring, however if you missed the page you had to wait until the page came round again. Gone are the days of having to carry home 15 heavy brochures so you can browse and choose your destination.

Trip Advisor has helped us decide where to go for a meal for years now. But beforehand we had to rely on word of mouth from friends. In today’s busy climate when we are choosing somewhere to go the first thing many people do is read the reviews online, this often makes or breaks a booking.
Before the internet it was potluck what experience you had, good or bad. There were no places to leave or find a review and word of mouth was a major factor, people tell more people about a poor experience they have had then a good one.

Finding A Number:
We can call any business direct from a search on our phone now. So from deciding whose number we want to calling it can take a matter of clicks and seconds. When there was no online search we’d have to use the Yellow Pages, a beast of a book that took ages to go through and you were never guaranteed to find the number you were seeking.
We did progress from this to talking pages which was a telephone number you called to get a number of a business or person, however this was expensive and not ideal for everyone. We’d use local papers to get a number but again this only worked if the business you wanted had an advertisement.

Dating is huge now and one of the most lucrative industries online. It was made for the internet and there are literally thousands of dating websites live with new ones popping up daily worldwide. Before dating websites existed dating was old school, a piece of paper with a telephone number, asking someone to go on a date in person at school, work or in a nightclub was the only way to date back then. Getting your friend to ask someone out for you was very popular. Dating was simple, if you liked someone you asked them out and they would say yes or no, then you agreed a place for the date, cinema, park or café maybe.
It was probably harder to meet someone pre-internet as the only people you would meet were in your circle be it at work, school, family or friends. Online dating gives you access to hundreds of potential new partners instantly compared to finding someone in your circle or everyday life.

Mention the word gaming to anyone now and they will instantly think of online gaming, consoles, live gaming etc, playing friends online. For many of us gaming used to be vastly different. It meant family or friends sat around the table playing board games. Old classics like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit etc. People would have games nights and of course at Christmas family board games were as much a tradition as turkey. For children you could be virtually assured each Christmas you would receive at least 2 or 3 board games as presents. Followed by the “get it set up then and we shall have a game” from the parents.

Emails are the norm today. It takes seconds to send an email anywhere in the world. We can say what we want and get answers back in seconds. This wasn’t always the case and sometimes we had to wait weeks for a reply. Writing a letter was very popular and it meant spending time writing the letter then delivering it, you also never knew it had been received a lot of the time.
Calligraphy sets were often given as presents too such was the need for pen and paper. You could be talking weeks for a reply if sending a letter to somewhere like Australia. The post is still a vital part of today’s society but the art of sending personal letters has declined and now people prefer text, email and social media to chat.

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