10 Things We Genuinely Miss About '90s Internet, Because Nostalgia Runs Deep
Ah, the '90s. If there is one thing Millennials love, it's the '90s, and when it comes to things we miss about '90s Internet, it feels like the list could go on forever. Sure, everything was a million times slower, you got kicked off every time your grandmother called, and neither of your parents ever knew how to open the "Downloads" folder. But still: Was there a greater thrill than hearing the "You've Got Mail!" notification? And admit it... The dial-up screech might have wanted to make you rip your hair out at the time, but don't you sort of miss it now that it's gone?
Really, though: Nostalgia can have a huge impact on people. It's pretty much human nature to crave the past and miss the happiness and good times we've had earlier in our lives. Of course, a lot of people often glorify the past, or concentrate more on the good times than the best, casting a sort of golden hue over times gone by. While I'm very happy technology has increased as it has, I have to admit, '90s nostalgia has a special place in my heart, especially when it comes to '90s Internet. I won't be trading the speed, efficiency, and memory space that comes along with our new and improved tech, but I will admit I definitely miss customizing my AIM Instant Messenger profile once a week — along with these other memorable experiences:
1. Actually Being Excited To Open Your Email
Ah, yes. The days before we all had too many emails all the time clogging our inboxes, and every notification was another chance that your crush from summer camp was finally writing you back. Ah, young love.
2. Knowing All Of Your Friends Would Be On Chat
What was more gratifying than running off the bus, grabbing some Pop-Tarts from your kitchen, and fighting with your family over who got to use the computer next? You know, because you had to talk about everything that happened at school that day, and suddenly using the landline phone in your living room was too childish. AOL Instant Messenger or bust.
3. Customizing Your AIM Profile
This was integral. You had to use your characters wisely: Which font did you select? Which color? Which song lyrics summed up your complex emotions the best? Your AIM profile was your way of letting the world know what was really going on inside your head, and ideally, would prompt people to message you about it.
4. Joining A Fan-Specific Forum
The Internet: The place where you can always find someone with your interests, no matter how remote or obscure they might be. And when people were still experimenting with the early days of the Internet, it felt like the options were limitless. Especially if you were a relatively young person in the '90s, you could open yourself up to a whole world of new and interesting views and perspectives you weren't necessarily getting from the kids you ate lunch with every day.
5. The Anticipation Of Watching Something Download
Now, we tend to get spoiled if something doesn't download within a few seconds, much less a few minutes. Back in the '90s, it could easily take hours to download your favorite movie or album from the Internet. A lot of people had all schemes worked out where they'd download things in the morning so they'd be ready when they got home from school... But if you were legit, you knew the risk that your download could cut out for seemingly no reason mid-way through. The struggles were real.
6. Choosing Which Search Engine Best Fit Your Needs
Nowadays, pretty much everyone uses Google as the default browser. Back in the day, though, I remember learning in school that we could different search engines for different purposes. For example, because Ask Jeeves had to be formatted as a question (you know, with a question mark at the end), our school librarian required we use Ask Jeeves for schoolwork. Wild, right?
7. The Y2K Meltdown of 1999
Everyone remembers the great Y2K freakout of 1999. Basically, people were worried that when we entered the year 2000, computers would go crazy and basically our entire society would crumble because of coding errors. People stocked up on water, turned off all their electricity, and fretted about it for months in advance. (Unless you were in my family, where we fell asleep on the couch watching the ball drop and totally forgot about it). Basically, if your parents were concerned about Y2K, you were probably not allowed to use your computer New Year's Eve 1999.
8. Carefully Stacking Your Floppy Disks Like Prized Possessions
This is what you saved all of your homework assignments and projects on, so they were basically gold. People thought we'd be using those suckers indefinitely to save our important files on, so it was of the upmost significance that you didn't lose or bend them. Now, they make pretty good retro coasters for your drinks.
9. Creating Masterful Geocities Webpages
Remember having a meltdown about having to get off the computer to eat dinner with your family, because hello, you were a web-designer now and had to finish your Geocities page? Good times.
10. Reinventing Yourself Via AIM Screen Name
Ah, the true power of the Internet in the '90s: You could change your AIM Screen Name whenever you wanted. This meant you could easily see if someone had blocked you or was "hiding" from you on chat. These were the days long before Facebook and all Internet related creeping and drama had to be done via AIM chat, where your friends helped you chat up your crush.