Timeless Thoughts: Magical Internet

Timeless Thoughts

A couple of months ago, I read a very interesting article that I had to share and tweet to my graduate school professor, whose interest area encompasses technology and its impact on society. He responded with a tweet that pretty much summed up the entire article and its impact on me, and it had me wanting to write about all of my feels into a “Timeless Thoughts” post.

I remember when I signed up for my first email at Hotmail, discovered online chatrooms and messengers, and followed the Animorphs series on its Scholastic website. I remember being fascinated by the fact that I could communicate real-time with someone living on the other side of the planet and with someone who shared the same interests as me. I remember feeling a sense of accomplishment when I made my first website and figured out photo manipulation. In other word, the Internet has forever changed my life. Yes, I’m part of the generation that remember using card catalogues, a cassette tape player, a rotary phone, and 1970s TV set. I’m also part of the generation that played computer games like Oregon Trail and Lemonade Stand on the Apple computer in my fourth grade building “lobby”. I’m a proud child of the 80s and 90s, and I love and miss those times. But then I came of age. With the Internet.

The Internet was new and magical; it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. The Internet, to me, defined my adolescent years. Without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The Internet allowed me to discover my likes and dislikes, it allowed me to embrace the fact that a lot of the tasks came to me easily. I learned to touch type because of chat rooms and instant messaging, and I learned to make websites and do basic graphic designing for myself. In fact, the Internet was simply perfect for my introverted nature.

I miss that feeling, that sense of novelty and fascination towards a piece of technology that just did so much. It just feels routine for me now. I still enjoy what I do on the Internet, and I love the online interaction between like-minded friends and peers, but I miss that feeling of pure awe I had back then. On the flipside, I do not miss the super slow dial-up, nor do I miss the website’s aesthetic back then, haha! Nope, I’m happy with my high-speed Internet and current website designs. :D

Do you miss the earlier days of net usage? Are you like me where you come from a generation that experienced the new and the old? Did you ever feel awed by the Internet?


  1. Definitely! I remember the day I found out I could create my own website and places would host me for free! I remember the day I wanted to, I somehow stumbled on a website (kaligrrl.com – no longer exists) that looked beautiful and I wanted to do that too.

    I found forums and they were so much fun back then, everyone was making their own websites and we all had the same interests and it was awesome.

    There were also the times when you applied for sub domain hosting (because having a domain and hosting of your own was so expensive back then) and hoped you got accepted because of your skill.

    Mostly I remember before wordpress, before grey matter (my first CMS) when we used to have online journals that we coded by hand in html (before stylesheets were common!) and manually edited them when ever we added an ‘entry’.

    I definitely miss the old days of the internet before things like facebook, pinterest and tumblr took over.. it felt like our little secret that the majority of the world didn’t know about.

    • I find it interesting you felt like it was a “secret”. I never thought of that way, actually, but it makes sense.

      GREYMATTER! I remember loving that until it because unsafe. And oh, man, I manually blogged by HTML, too, but when I discovered Greymatter, I stopped, haha!

      I do miss the community feel the interweb gave us back then before major social media sites took over. But one social media site I did like was LiveJournal, especially for my fandom life!

  2. The internet was indeed a very magical thing back in the day. I remember playing Oregon Trail and always having someone die of cholera. Oh man, those good old days!

    I find the dial-up noise brings back nostalgia, but I do not miss the slow Internet days of the late 90s early 2000s. hahah!

    • Yes, if I had to go back to the old days, I would as long as I can keep the fast Internet LOLOL. I cannot stand the slowness now. It’s like once I got fast net, I can’t go back, haha!

  3. My first e-mail account was on Yahoo! Mail. I remember when I first had access to the internet, I registered to absolutely all the websites that I could find! I was so impressed by everything, and I thought it was the “normal” thing to do. Haha! After realizing how poor a decision that was, I formed a new “rule” for myself that, as much as possible, I wouldn’t register on any website if I don’t need the account and if I won’t be “proud” of my membership there (to keep my inbox and online reputation clean). Like many others, I was also inspired by all the websites I have visited; it motivated me to make my own. :)

    Like you, the internet changed my life, too! I became so dependent on it now (oops!), and it’s part of my daily life. I definitely miss the feeling awe and newness when I first encountered the internet. Now, I still feel that with the fast-changing web (especially in web development).

    • Yes, I’ve become very dependent on it, but I still try not to let it completely control me. Keeping a balance with other hobbies is the key, even though some days it’s hard to maintain it!

      Ah, yes, Yahoo mail. I had one, too, but then Gmail happened and now I cannot stand anything but Gmail XD

  4. I remember how amazed I was when I first went on the internet, having so much information at my finger tips! I was addicted to chatrooms and making Anime websites back then.

    Overall, I don’t really miss the earlier days because we have more information available and more ways to connect to each other now. Sometimes it’s overload though, and I miss the simplicity from before. I do miss some of the communities from back then too. Anime shrines and Anime graphics were bigger back then, and I miss things like =/

    • I miss the simplicity, too! And anime shrines and graphics — those were HUGE back then. In fact, I just now remember Anipike! Holy crap! I just checked to see if it still exists, but it doesn’t :( But yes, anime graphics and layouts — miss those, but I think I like the current website design trends better XD

  5. Ah, I came of age with the Internet too. I still remember going outside playing games and hanging out with my friends, but the Internet kind of overrides those memories because it literally just changed my life. It’s crazy!

    I guess I miss the freshness of the Internet, but I definitely do not miss that dial up tone and having to wait until my mum finished on the phone before I could use it, haha. But we’ve become so desensitised, that any new technology isn’t awe inspiring anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I do get excited about new gadgets, but not the same way I did about the Internet.

    • I never had to experience the phone line conflict because my dad was smart and got us a separate line for the Internet :D Unfortunately, it was slow as heck, but it was good enough for the time!

      Like you, I feel somewhat desensitised and overwhelmed by new technology at times. In fact, I think I’ve reached the age where I am like the older generation in which I don’t get some of the new technology LOL. *hides* Yes, I’m old X___X;

  6. I remembered the internet when I was around 5 years old; when dial-up was a thing. I wasn’t old enough to realize how big of a change the internet was, and I thought it was just another toy XD. I think I’m more experienced with the new; even though I still remembered what cartoons in the late 90’s and early 2000’s was like (didn’t like them at all)…. However, I do agree with you; the high-speed internet and current designs are way better than before ;).

    • I can see how people younger than I would see the Internet as a toy of some sort :D In fact, I think a lot of the kids today just sees it as a way of life. They will never understand what it was like during the era before the Internet XD

  7. Connie on

    This is the sound of my nostalgia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsNaR6FRuO0

    The sound of dial up! Oh man, those days were when I was so into the games Gundbound and Neopets and when it came to blogging, it was about Xanga. Then, when I decided to experiment with graphic designing, I had my own website first hosted by Yahoo then moved over to someone who decided to host me via Pick-Me! It’s been a decade of memories!!

    I think internet was a big thing for me because when I was growing up, going online is a privilege while watching PBS kids and Saturday cartoons was the norm.

    • HAHAHA! I didn’t hear that sound at all because of us having a separate Internet line back then XD

      NEOPETS! Holy cow! I haven’t thought about them in years! No idea what Gundbound is, but I was also on Xanga and remember it being popular for some time.

      And I think for kids nowadays, going on the Internet is the norm XD It’s mind-boggling how things have changed so much since we were kids/teenagers!

  8. Holland on

    I remember my sister AIM chatting with her friend, who I was dating at the time (kid-dating, what a joke, hahaha!), and I would call him to disconnect their chat. I was such an asshole. Still am >:P

    I remember manually editing the homepage when blogging. DX

    I remember using Freewebs first for a lot of fansites, and having to make like 10 accounts to create a series of sites to make up a single website since Freewebs only allowed like 6 pages per free template-using account.

    I remember moving to Geocities and my shitty and simple designs that I was so proud of.

    God, how embarrassing. XD

    • AIM! That was my favourite instant messenger programmers from the day. I’d had a lot more friends on that than ICQ, MSN, or Yahell. Now, though, I only stick with Google Talk/Hangout.

      I never used Freewebs. I used Geoshitties and Angelfire for a year or so, and then I got my domain and hosting with DreamHost, so I didn’t have to rely on freehosts for too long! I was so proud of my websites back then, and now I’m, like you, embarrassed!

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