25 Things People Did Before The Internet You Won’t Believe

Posted by , Updated on April 23, 2024

Do remember what the world was like before the internet? If so, you’re definitely not a teenager. Isn’t that crazy? There isn’t a single teenager alive today who remembers what life was like pre-google. Well, life was different, and today, we’re going to see just how different it was. These are 25 Things People Did Before The Internet You Won’t Believe!



Buy encyclopedias

encyclopediasSource: reddit.com

That’s right, they were physical books, and you actually did research papers by looking up the topic alphabetically.


Take weeks to find rare items

phoneSource: yahoo.com

There wasn’t Amazon. People had to look up relevant topics in the Yellow Pages and call up every single store to see if they carried whatever item was being sought.


Ask for directions

mapSource: reddit.com

There weren’t apps or GPS. People had to use paper maps. You looked up the street, it gave you the quadrant, and you’d have to figure out how to get there. Not to mention that you also had to figure out where exactly you were. Typically, this involved asking innocent bystanders.


Set meeting times

watchSource: reddit.com

You spent a lot of time waiting for people because you had to pre-plan your meetings. If someone didn’t show up…well, you wouldn’t know what happened to them.


Lack information security

information securitySource: reddit.com

At a store, the clerk would just use a machine that made a carbon copy of your credit card. It wouldn’t be charged until later.


Struggle to get music

cdsSource: huffingtonpost.com

Kids actually burned (made) custom music CD’s and sold them at school. Napster changed everything as nobody was used to having access to so much music!


Read actual books at the library

booksSource: yahoo.com

Your home encyclopedias were fine for elementary school, even middle school. In high school and college though, you had to go to the library. And not all libraries were equal. Many times you had to go search out a bigger library just to get access to more scholarly books and information.


Write things by hand

writingSource: reddit.com

Although there were word processors and printers in the early 90’s, they weren’t common. Most people still had to write out their school assignments.


Carry change

changeSource: thoughtcatalog.com

Why? Because you might need to use a payphone!


Call payphone operators to get the time

payphoneSource: yahoo.com

It’s true. Of course there were watches, but not everyone had them.


Take weeks to register for stuff

mailSource: reddit.com

It would always take several weeks. You’d have to call the company, have the forms sent to you, fill them out, send them back, and receive confirmation. Each step took several days.


Learn cursive

cursiveSource: reddit.com

At least that’s what your teacher wanted you to do because you’d, “need it in the future.” Nobody knew that in a few years you would barely use a pencil to sign your own name.


Talk to your flame's parents every time you wanted to call him/her

no thanksSource: reddit.com

You had to call his/her house and in all likelihood tell their parents that you wanted to speak to them. We know, it was terrifying…


Pay the bills with checks

checkSource: yahoo.com

And then you had to mail them.



Wait for photographs to develop

cameraSource: reddit.com

You actually had to go to the store and leave your film there to have it developed. And then you could put your photos in a book and show them to your friends.


Wait to watch TV shows

tvSource: yahoo.com

Want to watch that one cartoon you like? Well, you better tune in at 8:30 am on Saturday, otherwise you’re out of luck.


Remember phone numbers

phone numbersSource: reddit.com

Back in the day you actually had to dial numbers on the telephone every time you wanted to call someone.


Read the news once a day

newsSource: huffingtonpost.com

You read it every morning in something called a “newspaper” (yes, it was actual paper). After that, there wasn’t any news until 6 pm on TV.


Make mistakes

sorrySource: reddit.com

People could actually make them without being mobbed by millions of people on twitter.


Play outside

Play outsideSource: reddit.com

And parents didn’t always require their kids to “check in.” You just had to be home before dark. Sound fun? It was.


Listen to messages on the answering machine

answering machineSource: buzzfeed.com

Instead of judging your popularity by the number of “likes” you receive, people judged their popularity by the number of messages people left them.


Use a computer for non-internet stuff

computerSource: thoughtcatalog.com

Like playing solitaire or minesweeper.


Walk around with folders full of paper

paperSource: reddit.com

Because everything was on paper. Everything.


Talk face to face

dialogueSource: reddit.com

Dialogue was an art form.


Whatever they wanted

privateSource: thoughtcatalog.com

Well, sort of. The fact is though, they knew that nobody was recording them or that they wouldn’t pop up in the background of some random strangers photograph and then have their face plastered all over billboards in foreign countries (and yes, that does happen). It also meant their mistakes wouldn’t follow them for their whole life…

Featured Image: shutterstock, 25-1. pixabay (public domain)