Life before internet

ByKausar Fatima

Works in an international audit firm and writes for magazines


August 13, 2022

Life before internet

Kausar Fatima makes an interesting Life before internet

Modern Life before internet cannot be imagined without the internet and this unique facility has permanently altered human existence. Life before the internet was living without instant communications and access to information including waiting by the phone for someone to call, driving to a destination without step-by-step GPS directions, researching school assignments through library card catalogues and learning cursive writing to communicate. After the advent of internet, the past looks like a vast repertoire of deprivation that is unconceivable now. It must however be kept in view that it was just a few decades before when there was no internet and the memories of that time still fascinate humanity.

Life before internet

Dialing phones took time
The first telephone was bulky, hanging on the wall, or sitting on a coffee table. It might have buttons to push to make a call, or, a rotary phone with a plastic wheel for dialing with a finger with dreaded phone numbers with a lot of zeros. There was no caller ID or voicemail and if one wanted the phone to become a mobile device, one had to have a really, really long cord.

Early mobile phones had limited functionality
People are literally spoiled by today’s smartphones—basically little internet-connected computers in pockets, able to shoot videos, do online banking and stay connected to social media platforms. Now people tend to forget that the mobile phone has modest beginnings with their only purpose was to make phone calls, until texting came along in the 1990s. If one wanted to shoot a photo or video one had to have a separate camera.

Black and white and read all over
Known as a printed newspaper was the norm then and it is now hard to believe that for many people the news came through printed sheets of paper, which might be delivered to their homes.

It was difficult to get with the programming
Before the shared resources of the internet, it was harder to learn computer programming and one had to figure out a lot of things by himself, read books and documentation, and see coding examples on floppy disks and CD-ROMs. Today programmers can share code and learn through online platforms such as GitLab and GitHub, making a complex process that much easier.

There were no easy searches for school homework
When it was time to research a school project, one could not just fire up the browser and input a question in a search engine. One had to go to the library, instead of surfing the world wide web, and one would have to flip through a card catalogue for what one was searching, perhaps getting versed by the librarian. If one found an old newspaper article one needed, one might have to view it miniaturised on film in a microfiche reader.

You’d get mail—real mail
In the day, the postal service was not just about delivering things one ordered online. Without emails, texts, Zoom meetings, or online messages of any kind, one was left with writing and sending people actual letters. One had to take care because one could not just backspace over mistakes. Then there was the waiting part—one would visit one’s mailbox every day to see if there was a letter in response.

Photos were shot with care
Before digital cameras, or smartphones that act as cameras, more care was required when shooting.
With old cameras, one had to shoot on film, pay to get that film developed into photographic prints, and then see, long after the fact, if the shoot worked out or was botched.

Cash was king
With the internet today, not only do people have more ways to spend money and pay, they have more kinds of digital money to help facilitate financial transactions online. Before this, hard cash was king, and one would slap notes down proudly for cashiers and tellers. In prehistoric times before ATMs, one could see long lineups at banks on Fridays so people could draw out enough cash to last them the weekend. TW


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