There is so much to do on the Internet today that it’s hard to remember that there was once a time when, well, there was kind of nothing to do on the Internet. Today, we have all sorts of social media sites, GIFs and memes to make us laugh, millions of YouTube videos to entertain us for hours, blogs where we can write all of our feelings and so much more. But back when I was in high school, the Internet was totally different.
Instead of updating the world on our every movement via Facebook, my friends and I went online only to play games, use IM, send emails to each other, download music and… well, a few other things, but that’s kind of it. The Internet was different back then! And since things are constantly changing online, a lot of the Internet trends that I grew up with are now gone, which is sort of sad. So, here are 15 old Internet trends that I really miss… and I’m sure you do too.
DeadJournal or LiveJournal
When I was younger, EVERYONE I knew had either a DeadJournal or a LiveJournal, or sometimes both. Before everyone and their mother had a blog, these online diaries were where we all spilled way too much information. LiveJournal was for all the cool kids, while DeadJournal was more for the emo, misunderstood kids. Looking back on the super personal things I shared on my DeadJournal makes me cringe, but I have to admit, I sort of miss these websites.
I literally almost screamed with joy when I found a picture of these AOL buddy icons (remember those), Dollz. Along with the rest of the world, I was obsessed with Dollz back in the day. You could design these tiny, pixelated people on your own, or you could just search every website ever to find ones that you like so you could decorate your AOL page (like I did). Dollz were amazing.
AOL Hometown Pages
Before social media sites were around, there was AOL Hometown Pages. It was basically like an extended AIM profile where you could add images, quotes, Dollz… basically anything you wanted. I wish I could screenshot an image of my old page, but alas, it is gone. These pages were usually decorated in the most obnoxious way possible. I remember mine had a lot of huge, glittery quotes with images that said things like, “Italian Princess” or “Keep my name outta your mouth.”
This just might be one of the best viral videos of all time. In fact, it is actually the second most-viewed viral video in the world. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but Numa Numa is just SO GOOD. My friends and I used to watch it on repeat and try to do the dance ourselves, but we always failed because we were laughing too hard. Today, there are hundreds and thousands of YouTube stars, but back then, it was only this dude named Gary Brolsma, happily dancing to the tune of a Romanian song.
Before there was Tumblr, there was Xanga. Do people still use Xanga? I’m not sure. Xanga was basically another form of DeadJournal and LiveJournal – it was sort of like an online blog or journal. In my experience, Xanga was a little bit more image-oriented – I used to use it to find quotes and images that I would now find on Tumblr. I miss Xanga!
WrItInG lIKe ThIs
Okay, JK, I don’t miss this. I don’t think this is still a thing people do, but if it is, please stop. Unfortunately, I myself used to write like this (take an old AIM screen name as an example: XxXbEaChBaRbIeXxX… no seriously, that was one of my old screen names) and I don’t know why. It looks uncomfortable, it’s almost impossible to read and it’s actually just weird.
I can’t be the only one who misses AOL Instant Messenger, right? Back when I was in high school, the Internet was so simple… go online, sign onto AIM and then spend hours talking to everyone on your buddy list, even if it was just to say “hey what’s up” and then nothing else because you don’t really know that person. I had many, many very important conversations on AIM. And remember the away messages? It was so fun to make them! Now we all just use Facebook Messenger, if we use that at all… I think texting has taken over chatting online.
We used to have to take a computer class when I was in middle school (to learn how to properly use the Internet), but for some reason, all we did was play Oregon Trail or that old Carmen Sandiego game. We were all OBSESSED with Oregon Trail. It was a huge deal! Looking back, I kind of have no idea why. There was really point to the game at all… in fact, I think if we all played it now, we’d be pretty bored. That’s sad 🙁
Sigh. What ever happened to Tom? I know Myspace is still around, but it’s just not the same anymore. Myspace was the first huge social media site that we were all obsessed with – this was even before Facebook! I remember making my Myspace profile almost as obnoxious as my old AOL Hometown Page. And remember choosing the people to go in your Top 8?! This was, like, a huge deal. I sort of miss the simplicity of old Myspace sometimes.
Ah, Napster. How I miss you so. When Napster first came out, we all started illegally downloading music like crazy. My friends and I would literally get together to hang out just to use Napster together. I dare you to try illegally downloading music today. I mean, don’t, because it’s illegal, but… it’s also almost impossible.
Making Mix CDs For Your Friends
Speaking of Napster… the popular thing to do with all of your illegal music was to burn it onto CDs and then decorate said CDs with permanent marker. Everyone used to make mixed CDs for their friends or significant others. It was a really sweet thing to do!
Talking To SmarterChild
If no one was signed on AIM in the middle of the night when you couldn’t sleep, what were you supposed to do? Talk to SmarterChild, duh. When I first heard of Siri, I automatically thought of SmarterChild. Very different things, but sort of similar, right? SmarterChild could be kind of a jerk, but for some reason, it was endlessly amusing to fool around with him/her on AIM.
Filling Out Surveys About Yourself (And Emailing Them To Everyone)
If you weren’t IMing everyone on AIM or searching for Dollz that looked like you, you were filling out surveys full of pointless questions about yourself and emailing them to everyone on your contact list. I don’t know why we all read these things and then spent time filling them out ourselves. I also don’t know why I printed all of them out and put them in my desk drawer. Oh, wait, I know. It’s so I could laugh at them later on. I don’t regret this one bit.
SkiFree was this fun, simple little game that I played whenever there was nothing else to look at on the Internet. I’m not the only one who remembers this, right? And how can I play it again?
Rating People On Hot Or Not
I’m honestly not sure if people still use this website or not, so correct me if I’m wrong about it being something that doesn’t happen anymore. Remember that scene from The Social Network where Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg starts to get the idea for Facebook while rating college students on their looks? This was basically Hot or Not. For some reason, my ex-boyfriend and I used to spend hours doing this after school. But, I haven’t used this website in years.
Do you remember these Internet trends? Which one was your favorite? What else did I miss? Tell me in the comments!