25 More Things People Did Before The Internet

The things people did before the internet wasn’t all that different from today. Okay, that’s not true, it was wildly different. The internet has radically altered our behaviors, how we communicate, and how we get information. From phone books to checkbooks, things were not so convenient back in the day. However, there were quite a few perks of not having the internet around as well. Ready to travel back in time to a simpler age? Here are 25 More Things People Did Before The Internet.

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Used the classifieds to find jobs


Before Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and Monster.com, people found jobs in the newspaper, got referrals from friends, and looked for Help Wanted signs while driving down the road.


Spoilers weren't a thing


Television programming was widely different before the internet but even so, few had to worry someone would spoil who killed J.R. on the hit show Dallas. Everyone had peace of mind.


Letters to the editor was the only way to give your bad opinion

letters to the editor

With social media and Twitter not around, the only way for people to let other people know their hot take was to either write a letter to the editor and hope it was accepted or tell people face-to-face at parties.


They wrote fan mail


Rather than going to a celebrity’s social media profile and writing to them, people sat down and took the time to write a long letter by hand, and that’s if they knew the address. They’d buy a stamp and send it through the mail. Even then, they’d likely still be ignored.


Manually change all their clocks


When daylight savings time hit people like a hammer, rather than depending on their computers to change the time for them, they had to go throughout the house and change all the clocks themselves. Often, people would forget a clock and it would totally mess with their heads for weeks.


Used their imaginations


When people got bored, they used their imaginations. It’s called “daydreaming.” They didn’t pull up Facebook to mindlessly scroll until something new happened. They thought endlessly about all kinds of things and pretended to be other things or other places. Turns out, it was really good for them.


The newspaper was their pre-internet


The local and national newspapers told families everything they needed to know. From weekly television schedules to movie showtimes, newspapers were the primary source for current events.


Kids passed actual notes in class

passing notes

Back in the day, kids didn’t have WhatsApp to text their friends over wifi. Instead, they wrote a small note on a piece of paper and had other classmates pass it over to their friend. It was a hazardous process, especially if a teacher caught them in the act and read the note out loud in front of the class.


Watched a lot more television


Television and cable television was all the rage before the internet. The fear it would brainwash people and destroy society was a common refrain at the time, much like the fears about the internet today. Cable was for rich people and network television was for everyone else, but one thing remained the same, all people did was watch it.


Balance their checkbook


People couldn’t go online to check their bank account balance. Instead, they had two options: Walk into the bank and ask or track all their checkbook transactions in their register. It was a tedious task, but it had to be done.


Skills were much harder to learn


Without the internet, skills and learning how to do things weren’t easy and readily available. If you didn’t know how to fix a toilet, you called a plumber. You couldn’t pull up YouTube.


People owned a Rolodex


The only way to keep in touch with people, remembering their names, numbers, and addresses, was an obsolete product called the Rolodex.


You likely met your spouse in college or a bar


Online dating, of course, didn’t exist before the internet. Most people met their spouse at college, in a bar, or because your friend set you up.


The phone book was a staple in every household

phone book

If you needed to get the phone number of a restaurant, business, or neighbor, the only way to do it was to have a phone book handy. It was a massive yellow tome with thousands of phone numbers inside.


You actually went to your high school reunion

high school reunion

Today, Facebook lets you keep tabs on all your high school classmates, including old boyfriends or girlfriends. Naturally, it makes high school reunions a little moot. Before all that, to find out your ex ballooned to 250 pounds, you went to your high school reunion.


People remembered things


Without Google at their fingertips, people needed to retain a large amount of information, like phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, and what year Star Wars: A New Hope released in theaters.


Rented movies at Blockbuster


If you wanted to watch a movie, you had a few options: Go to the library, buy it at a store, or did the most common option – rent it at a Blockbuster. The worst part about that was forgetting to return the tape and racking up tons of late fees.


Pop culture news took forever

pop culture

Nerds wanting to know about their latest movies usually waited months to hear little nuggets in their favorite magazines. This usually created rumors and word-of-mouth that spread through the sub-niches but ultimately stayed unknown. Of course, today, people get a daily fix on whatever they want to know.


Spoke with their family at the dinner table

family meal

Before the internet, specifically the internet on cell phones, families actually sat around the dinner table and spoke to each other rather than looking at their screens.


People weren't afraid of missing out


Fear of missing out, of course, is a big problem today. With constant feeds, it creates a feeling of dependency and needing to know what’s going on. Before this, unless you knew a friend was at a party without you, fear of missing out wasn’t nearly as common as it is today.


People made mix tapes

mix tapes

Getting music before the internet was substantially harder. This was especially true if you were into subgenres, independent bands, and unknown groups. The best thing was when a friend made you a mix tape of all their music. These personalized gifts might have been small, but they meant a lot.




Without the vast amount of distractions the internet provides, people keenly focused on the task at hand. Few other things took them away from whatever they were working on or engaged with.


Held eye contact

eye contact

Being social before the internet required you meet up with people and hold eye contact when you spoke to them. You couldn’t pretend to get a text or look something up quick on Google.


They sold most their junk at pawn shops

pawn shop

To get quick cash before eBay, Amazon, and Etsy, people took their electronics and high valued stuff to pawn shops or sold it at a garage sale.


They were generally unreachable


Before the internet, the only way to contact someone was to call them when they were at home. Otherwise, they were pretty much unreachable.

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