Life before smartphones and social media took over the world (wide web) went on just fine less than ten years ago. In the days of my childhood in the nineties, there was no Facebook messenger to socialise on, nor was there Tinder to efficiently swipe right and meet the man or woman (in some very rare occasions) of your dreams. Before smartphones, all mobiles with a color screen were considered smart, and as for filtering the life out of a photograph you took on Instagram to represent your day – who knew photographic filters on a mobile phone would even exist? Let’s take a trip down memory lane to reminisce about what life was like before the internet and all it’s social media offspring swept us all off our feet and into a stationary, techno-dependent existence.
Who else used to run home from school and wait for 30 minutes for the computer to load and for the internet connection to last before someone made a phone call and stopped your creative MSN Messenger emoji name in mid track? While many of my friends had heard hitting, emotional song lyrics as their display name (to prove to their friends just how hard it was being a teenager), mine was “rEmeMber me, I am gOing to Be fAmous” (flower emoji, heart emoji). So very modest I have to say. Thankfully for my generation, it is impossible to retrieve old MSN conversations and hilariously embarrassing names. Phew.
If you owned this phone, then you can guess how old I am. This was my first phone when I was ten years old. At the time, it was strange that I had a phone so early (I just wanted it so I could dress it in different skins – I had outgrown Barbies). As a result of having nobody else to text other than my parents and friends older siblings, I spent a lot of time playing Snake. Far too much time perhaps – especially as I never got past level 3.
At the back of your favourite magazines, you could ring up a sketchy sounding company on the telephone from your home and order a ringtone that made your phone sound like the winning contender from X Factor. At over $6 a time, they weren’t cheap to buy. However, I had Black Eyed Peas waiting to play when I got a call. Unfortunately, I only ever got texts. I did phone myself once though and it did sound worthy of the $6. Phew.
Now, I know that camera phones are a basic essential today, but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I got my first pixilated photo taken from my mobile. I couldn’t believe it. I remember thinking, “Oh I wonder what will come next” – maybe you will be able to watch television on your mobile. Today, with the help of wifi – you can indeed do that too. Camera phones used to require a lead to plug into you computer in order to print them out or change your MSN display photo. There was no filtering, apart from maybe changing it to black and white on Paint. Can you believe we couldn’t even email them to each other
Who else wonders what life will be like in the next ten years? Today’s generation don’t even know what it was like without wifi, let alone the Internet. With all the new apps and social media sites at our hands, anything seems possible. Everything, except for going back to life before smartphones, that is. That seems a very strange, slow world. How did we survive it?