If we think of the revolution that the Internet has brought about in our lives, for those over 35-40 it becomes complicated to explain what life was like before this revolution. Because at first, the internet seemed above all other media, in its beginnings, the companies that served content were looking for advertising and funding based on them.
The web was essentially seen as a new channel of entertainment and communication, but of a level clearly inferior to TV or newspapers, so that the traditional media, before the mass advent of Google, were skeptical about the fact that the home audience would have changed habits consolidated for half a century in favor of a tool to be used on the computer.
What they had not seen was that the internet would have been so successful, that it would also involve a hardware technological revolution. I remember as a child the dream of owning a small TV, to look at her in bed in peace. It was the mid-80s so to speak. Today watching a video in HD on a smartphone is so obvious and banal that you don’t really understand what the world was before the web.
For a boy above all. First of all, meeting friends was complicated. There was a timetable and it was necessary to respect it, at a given point, to meet. There were usual meeting places where people met without an appointment, out of habit.
If we think about what the web is today, we don’t understand how certain things happened then. For example, visiting a city that was not known meant having to get ready to consult the map and get lost. Getting lost and not finding a place was something so obvious, banal, repetitive, that many comic gags were based on this. If you see a TV series like Friends, in the first few seasons many of the gags are based on situations that today could be solved with a smartphone connected to the data network.
The library was the internet of the past. Today the vast majority of Google searches are for information. To do a search at school, we started with an encyclopedia entry. The encyclopedia was the mantra. My parents spent literally millions to buy an encyclopedia that was the basis of any school project. I can’t even tell you how many hours I have missed consulting the entries.
Another fact: the discussions. Today to know who is right or wrong, to put a dispute to rest just a little: look on Google and get the answer. Before the internet, the discussions could be interminable or otherwise fruitless, but the beauty was the discussion, not who was right.
Paying at a distance was very complicated and generally insecure. Listening to music was considered a playful activity, so those who had a good stereo system (the real must of the 1980s) put up cassettes and CDs, which were the real novelty of the moment and reserved for a few. The playlists had to be made. A compilation on CD or in a cassette was a gesture of love or friendship because it required time and precision to do it and a little passion was put into it.
Writing by hand and in italics was very useful. Everyone understood what was written on a sheet in italics because it marked the things you didn’t want to forget, while today you just need to type something on the keyboard to take note.
Moreover, without the internet, time was considered to be much more relevant, given that it was used to carry out operations that today take place on the fly. A curious fact: as in old films, clocks were never synchronized as they are now oriented through the internet. So everything was very relative, even the exact time (usually the radio or Teletext time signal was taken).