What was life like before social media?

Last updated: Mar 14th, 2019

What was life like before social media?

News headlines around the world read “Facebook Outage: WhatsApp and Instagram also affected” – and it seems the world went into meltdown!

According to a 2018 report by Ofcom, us Brits spend on average a whopping 24 hours online, much of that on various social media channels. Yesterday’s outage got us reminiscing about life before social media and the internet, what did we used to do?

We actually spoke to our friends on the phone

Remember the days when you knew your best friend’s home phone number off by heart? Nowadays we’d be lucky to remember one person’s mobile phone number, let alone the whole class’s. We’d pick up the phone and talk for hours, and we actually had things to tell each other because we hadn’t lived their daily life with them on social media.

We had cameras with film in them

Disposable cameras, Kodak film, having to find the nearest shop that develops photos and hand over the film, not really knowing what photos might come back! Pick them up a day or two later in that little paper wallet, share them with friends and family and then slip them into a photo album. I’m sure shops have seen a rapid decline in the sale of photo albums as we put them on social media, Google photos or some other cloud-based platform.

We used to people watch

Waiting for friends, sitting on public transport, enjoying a solo drink – what’s the first thing most of us do? Pull out our phones and check social media or cruise the internet. Didn’t you love the days when you used to sit and simply watch the world go by? Wondering where people had come from, where they were going and what their story was? Now, we opt for social media stalking instead!

We had to date the old-school way

No sliding into someone’s DM or swiping left or right on Tinder, instead we had to approach someone we fancied and speak to them. Live and direct!

We couldn’t get round-the-clock news

A daily newspaper or the “News at 10” were your best opportunities to catch up with what was happening in the world. Breaking News really was something monumental that brought the world to a standstill. Today, we have access to world news around the clock at the click of a button. And dare I mention the rise of “fake news”…

We actually had to go to the shops

What did we do without Amazon? If we wanted something we had to venture out to the shops and take a punt that the price we found it at in Woolworths was the best price on the high street. There’s something to be said for the convenience of internet shopping, but it’s a shame it’s had to come at the expense of the high street, don’t you think?

Watching a film meant a trip to Blockbusters

A Friday night trip to Blockbusters for many was the highlight of the week! What were the new releases, would they still be in stock and more importantly, which one of us is going to take it back tomorrow to avoid the late fee?

Playing outside, watching TV as it was scheduled, visiting the library to consult the Encyclopaedia before the days of Google, not worrying so much about your image… was life simpler before the birth of the internet and social media? Whatever your stance on social media, it certainly brings joy to millions of users around the world every day (and it’s back up and running now, so panic over!).