9 Awesome Internet Things You Totally Forgot About, According To Reddit
Guys, isn't the Internet cool? I'm being genuine here, for once ever in my life. As Millennials, we grew up with it — literally. And one of my favorite things about "The Internet" is how it's constantly evolving, while one of my least favorite things is forgetting all the cool stuff about it as soon as new cool stuff comes along; thus, this Reddit thread that covers all the awesome, forgotten Internet things is very much the best. Just saying.
I'm not kidding when I say Millennials literally grew up with the Internet, by the way; the World Wide Web was invented in 1989. My, how the time flies, does it not?
One of the latest AskReddit topics, "What is something that was once AWESOME on the Internet that is now totally forgotten?" holds a special place in my heart. My parents were very wary of all the corruption that can happen to a young child's mind while plugged in and online, so the list of things I was not allowed to experience — AIM, MySpace, chatrooms — vastly outweighed all the things I could do.
I relished sites like Homestar Runner and StumbleUpon. I became extra obsessed with specific Youtube videos. Whenever I went to a friend's house, I insisted that we go online and chat with classmates on AOL — and that applied for pretty much any friend's house, since everyone except for me seemed to have AOL.
Here are nine things from that wonderful AskReddit thread that used to be awesome on the Internet, but which have now fallen by the wayside. Check out the full thread for more — but consider yourselves warned: You might lose hours to early Internet nostalgia.
1. AOL Instant Messenger
Confession: I did not have AIM. I never had the fun username, the fun away messages, the flirty exchanges about math class with my crush. None of that. But literally all of my friends did, so I lived vicariously through them. Now that most humans have Gmail accounts and thus access to Gchat, AIM has been rendered pretty obsolete. But it will always be on a pedestal in my heart.
Ah, Limewire, the dangerous-feeling peer-to-peer filesharing network. To answer your question, Mr. Falconfighter: Uh, not really. I mean, you can still download it for free, but there are a lot more limitations and also a lot more reliable and safer ways to download stuff on the Internet.
3. Homestar Runner
I was a weirdo in 7th grade, and it was a requirement among 7th grade weirdos to love Homestar Runner. Or at least, it was a requirement to pretend that you loved it and be able to understand what was happening when a bunch of tweens starting screeching "TROGDOORRR." For all of you people who were too busy "having boyfriends" or whatever, Homestar Runner was a site full of animated videos featuring badly drawn dragons and bad voiceover work. Very much still my aesthetic, so praise be that Homestar Runner is still a functioning site.
I mean, you can still bookmark stuff. My mom loves her bookmarks. I have Netflix bookmarked because I'm straight up too lazy to type it out. But there's really no need to do so anymore, because now we all just Google it. Sorry, Mom.
Maybe I'm old, but I feel like this site hit peak popularity my first year of college. The premise was pretty simple: it was like hitting shuffle on the Interwebs. Random websites would pop up, sometimes amazing, sometimes horrifying. It was favorite thing to do instead of studying for my Astronomy class. StumbleUpon is still around, though, so check it out if that's your thing.
6. Geocities Website Builder
With the arrival of platforms like Tumblr and Blogspot, Geocities became a whole lot less...necessary. Neocities, which self-describes as a "21st century reincarnation of Geocities," is like an HTML-focused Tumblr. With a much smaller pool of websites to commune with, but with a stronger focus on the creativity that can come from individually-created websites.
7. The "Numa Numa" Guy
Gary Brolsma was a recent high school graduate living in New Jersey when his lip-synced cover of "Dragostea din Tei" by Moldovan pop group O-Zone was suddenly, inexplicably everywhere. That was in 2004. In 2006, it had been viewed more than 700 million times. In 2010, Gary tried to launch the next CollegeHumor, called "Numa Network." You probably haven't heard of it because it didn't really ever take off.
8. The Hamster Dance
At one point, my cousin's family's home phone answering machine was just this song. I love my relatives; I hate this song. That's pretty much all I have to say about it.
Yet another "cool Internet thing" that I was not allowed to experience. MySpace still exists, but Facebook very swiftly dethroned it — and now, according to my 11-year-old students, Instagram has replaced Facebook. I will never be able to keep up.