Ahh for the good old days.
At the age of twenty-seven I already yearn for so many of the more enjoyable aspects of my youth: the old A4 boxes for PC games stuffed with bonus goodies now labelled “collectors edition”; playing Pokemon in between street lights in the back of the car; Angry Beavers.
But there’s plenty I’m glad has changed. I love that I can now see a face in a film and delve into my pocket to find out where I’ve seen that face before, if I’m ever looking for an answer to a question I’m never far from an answer, or that if I need a friend that it’s easier than ever for me to reach one. The internet and mobile technology, give us incredible power to discover and communicate, no need to remain ignorant when the answers are at our fingertips, square debts with friends in seconds when they organise awesome events.
It’s an ever shifting landscape, websites flourish and wither, rise from the ashes or fall from grace. The internet is a tour de force that is changing the shape and size world bringing us step-by-step closer to a better future. But there are still a few things I miss from the old days, the websites that have left an echo on the internet we know today.
The Microsoft Network, the original social network. MSN toppled a few contenders before it collapsed in the face of bigger and badder communication tools. Not all that long ago an evening with friends was spent online, we collected and sorted our friends together on the instant messenger contacts, and social politics was governed by the block-list. Did anyone else make a point of memorising the shortcuts for smileys?
Facebook would eventually go on to outstrip MSN in every respect, but Microsoft have made the effort to stay in the game with Skype.
Before YouTube, we had a different source for internet cartoons. All the best comedy started in Newgrounds, it collected the works of Weeblstuff, Stickdeath and Fatpie among dozens of others, and helped launched careers into the mainstream. It was a community that brought together fan ratings, discussions, and critiques; collected animation, art, animation and flash games.
Newgrounds is still running, that tank is still trundling along, but with big competition they’ve faded a little into the background these days. Better websites stream content without the loading time where Newgrounds pre-loads videos, it may mean that we don’t get sudden buffering halfway through a video we’re enjoying, but we’re far too impatient for that these days.
Ok, not all that were lost were so terrific, Google dominated the search engine field for a reason. If you’re paying attention you may find that these days things are not quite so clear-cut, but I’m getting off track. Yahoo is probably the biggest of the remaining search engines from the old days of… the early 2000’s, but Ask Jeeves has dropped the butler and now goes by Ask, which is shockingly still running despite the fact that it’s generally unlovable bloatware.
Ask Jeeves has gone the way of the screeching modem and having to switch off the internet so that someone else can make a phonecall, but it’s interesting how it’s become the internet’s “Dodo”, a symbol for all that has been lost.
The internet is moving faster than any single mind can process, and has catapulted us screaming into a future we are simply not prepared for over the course of two short decades, with time slicing ever and ever thinner as the bandwidth grows wider. Who knows what websites we will be remembering fondly in ten years time (looking at you YouTube, you’ve been on thin ice lately), but let us never forget what has already come and gone… ish.