Happy birthday, World Wide Web! Remember when we still called it that? The Internet turns 25 years young today, and whether you think it's the greatest invention since the light bulb or the entire reason our society is falling apart, you must admit it's difficult to imagine our lives without it. Think about it: many of us wouldn't have met our soul mates if not for the Internet. We'd still be faxing thousands of pages of paper a day at our jobs instead of sending email attachments. Lots of us wouldn't even have jobs, or would have very different jobs, if not for the Internet.
Still, as someone who celebrated all of my single-digit birthdays before the Internet was born, I'd be lying if I said life is so much better now. Here are 4 things the Internet totally destroyed and 4 ways it made life even better.
4 Things I Miss About Pre-Internet Life:
1. Discovering new music at a record store. Remember when it felt exciting to wait and count down the days until an album was released? Remember when release dates that were scrawled on a little blackboard behind the register actually meant something?
2. Receiving a letter in the mail. Even better -- if your mail came from another country, it had all of these exciting stamps and colors all over it. Another plus: those of us who lived before the Internet became experts at identifying someone by his or her handwriting.
3. Having conversations with people. Hearing them laugh instead of LOL'ing. Running around the corner to ring their bell when their phone line was tied up -- and not being thought of as rude for doing so.
4. Getting actual, physical birthday cards. The kind of card you knew a friend chose based on how perfect it was for you. Facebook "happy birthday"s just aren't the same.
4 Ways Life Is So Much Better Now:
1. Holiday shopping. Any kind of shopping, really. There's something to be said about the thrill of searching through racks to discover something original, but that all means very little when you can only find one pair of jeans you actually like and they aren't in your size. Online shopping is genius.
2. Losing touch with people very easily. It was really easy to "disappear" before the Internet. It seems sad now to think you could go through life never being able to reach out again to a childhood friend who moved from your town when you were 13.
3. Learning how to cook was so much harder without access to lots of free online recipes. Cookbooks cost money! And just where did people stack them all?!
4. Getting all of your news from one or two newspapers. How amazing is it that we can read news from all over the world and that we no longer have to wait until the paper appeared at our doorstep at 7 a.m. or until the nightly news program to find out what was going on in the universe?
What would you add to either of these lists?
Image via raneko/Flickr