I am five years older than Yann, which isn’t a significant difference. It’s not exactly an insignificant difference either, as proven by our discussion the other night. I was explaining to him how I had spent part of my day indulging in nostalgia by browsing the old internet. I did this by Wayback Machine-ing a few of my old favorites.
The internet used to be uglier, but it was also a lot more fun. Right now, it’s so consumer-driven. Once pop-up blockers got effective, the internet had to get creative with advertising which is now disguised as social media apps or sponsored blog posts.
Splash pages are dead. Guestbooks are no more. Chat rooms are obscure. Even webcams have disappeared, and they were a prerequisite for personal websites of the late 90s/early 00s, usually appearing in the sidebar. The chosen photo would be the webmaster/webmistress’ (two of the most short-lived terms to ever exist) pick of the day.
Sometimes, the webcam would be live, refreshing at a rate of once every five seconds or slower. I had to stop there and further explain live cams to Yann.
“Streaming camera, you mean?” he asked.
“Oh, no. Those were the days of dial-up internet.” I paused to fix my glasses and brush a wisp of grey hair out of my face, “We didn’t have streaming media.”
“So, it’s like video chat?”
“No, you just let people watch you in total anonymity,” I continued as I leaned back in the rocking chair, preparing to school my young boyfriend on the golden age of the web.
He was creeped out.