Life before social media

By Brittney Nadler

I went through a dark phase that I don’t like to conjure up in my memory all too often.

There was a time after I received my first state-of-the-art Samsung flip phone that I remember picking up my house phone after a solid few months of abandonment and actually pausing as I momentarily forgot the first step in dialing a number.


And I stood there in my own ignorance and bewilderment as I realized just how far technology had come – and mind you, this was before smartphones, iPods, tablets, the works.

The infamous “time before social media” seems to be brought up a lot in conversations that typically revolve around the stupidity and zombie-like state of our technology addicted, decaying college brains, but does an entire era before Facebook really deserve to be deemed social medialess?

Surely blogging was around, as were websites like Club Penguin and Runescape (don’t try to deny you never owned a puffle in Club Penguin or welded your own cheap, copper armor in Runescape; we were all there).

It’s just gotten fancier, folks.

So before the interactive games and publicized break-ups and vintage shots of food and #yolotwerkswagggg, what did we do? How did we contact each other? Did we have fun? Did we socialize face-to-face (Skype and FaceTime don’t count)?

I think it can be nicely broken down into a short list I like to call you-can-sort-of-remember-life-before-modern-social-media-if…

1. You knew your friends phone numbers.

2. You remember how excited you were when you got your first email address (, no shame).

3. Online pictures were reserved for editing and putting on holiday cards.

4. We weren’t all at risk for severe carpal tunnel.

5. Accidentally dropping your phone on your face wasn’t a thing (but if it happened to you…)

6. You received actual birthday party invites in the mail.

7. You actually talked to people on the bus, in a new class, in the elevator, etc. because they were your only source of entertainment. (Just kidding, we were all too socially awkward for that. How did we even make friends before Facebook messaging?)

8. Shorthand and abbreviations were meant for things like state names and addresses, not full out sentences ROFLCOPTER.

9. Businesses and employers advertised through good old-fashioned newspapers and magazines.

10. Feeling phantom vibrations and hearing phantom rings was way less socially accepted.

We actually have nice weather right now, so try to take a look at the Quad in person and not through the U of I Facebook page, go eat some Cocomero instead of looking at an Instragrammed picture of it and for Pete’s sake, say “Hi” to that one kid you see every single day instead of furiously texting away. TFRTS (Thanks for reading The Spread).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s