Children born today won’t know what life was like before the internet. Some people reading this list won’t remember what life was like before everyone had internet and cell phones. The web and its internet trends have fundamentally changed how we live our lives, from the media we consume and how we consume it to interpersonal relationships, how we shop, and even how election campaigns are run. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, not everyone was connected, and the internet was more of a wild and free place (that was a lot more text and fewer pictures).
Gather ’round children, and let me tell you a tale. A tale of when the internet was wild and free and Hamsters Danced. To educate you about how far we’ve come or just make you reminisce about the dial up days of yore, here’s a list of 25 Noteworthy And Remarkable Internet Trends From Before 2005.
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Back in the day (pre 2000), nearly everyone who was on the internet had a geocities site. It was a free service that basically gave you a bank page to fill with all the HTML your little fingers could type.
The pre-Google search engine AltaVista was where you went online to find stuff in the mid to late 90's. It was launched in 1995, and if you were born that year or after, you may have never heard of it.
Numa Numa kid was one of the first viral videos ever. Did you know you wanted to see a chubby kid singing Romanian Boy-band songs? No, you probably didn't, and without the internet we never would have seen it. Thank you, internet.
Neopets were kind of like Tamagotchis in that they were digital pets, but web based. Neopets was also one of the early versions of social networking online. You signed up, you got a pet, you took care of them, and you could purchase things for them and make friends in game. The website is still there, still running.
Hotmail was one of the first places people could, and did, make terrible screen name choices, often involving the number 69 or variation there of. Sure, there were many of people who used hotmail for responsible non-creeper emailing, but those are the people who signed up for gmail back when someone still had to send you an invite to do so. It's name was a reference to HTML - HoTMaiL. Hotmail officially became upgraded to Outlook in 2013.
Livejournal (or Deadjournal) was where your angsty teen poetry and Star Trek fan fiction went to find solace with other lost souls on the internet who's parents, "just didn't get them." The first major blogging sites ever to gain traction on the internet, not everyone on LJ was an angsty goth kid (pre-emo), but enough were, and the edgiest had deadjournals.
Napster was the very first peer to peer file sharing network. What it would do was let your friend upload a file, say, a Metallica CD they just bought, share that file with you, and then TADA, you had the new music without paying for it. This was the beginning of internet piracy.
Baby Cha cha, also known as Dancing Baby and Creepy Dancing Baby was another very early viral video, and also a really early example of 3D animation. When it premiered in 1996, it was a new and impressive piece of animation. It became truly famous in 1998 when it danced on Ally McBeal's desk.
The very first e-card was sent in 1994, and through the early 2000's they were still very popular. Sometimes an interactive greeting or simply your greeting with a small animated graphic, ecards are, as the name suggests, all electronic. All the credit for a real birthday card, none of the cost or effort. Blue Mountain was one of the first and most popular e-greeting card sites and is still active, just not nearly as popular as it once was. They did, however, give us someecards, so there's that. It used to be exciting and meaningful to get email. Now it's exciting and meaningful to get corporeal mail.
ICQ was launched in 1996 and was the first major chat client that allowed things such as multi user chat rooms and file transfers. When you signed up, you were assigned a number instead of picking a screen name as with other services such as AIM, YahooMessenger, or MSN Messenger. In 2001, at it's most popular, ICQ had over 100 million registered users.
Netscape Navigator was the first web browser many of us used. Launched in 1994, Netscape was arguably the most used browser of the 90's, predating even Internet Explorer. It was officially defunct as of 2008.
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