Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What did we do before the Internet?

I read a lot more books. That’s where the cool and interesting ideas could be found. It was a slow process accessing books. Remember, there was no Amazon where one could “one click” just about any book. I worked across the street from a library, so that helped. However, their selections were a bit limited.

Fortunately, there was a good network of friends who knew each other’s reading habits and readily shared books. Back in high school, my buddy and I had adjoining lockers. We stuffed all our school crap into one shared locker. In the other locker, we installed shelves and turned it into a Science Fiction lending library. We continued sharing books after graduation, but the subject matter expanded beyond S/F.

Living way the heck out in the woods, expeditions to bookstores were a big deal. I’d load up with a many as I could afford.

I also read an awful lot of magazines. Magazines were a significant expense, but at least they were delivered to my door.

In the world before e-mail, I actually wrote letters. In fact, because my handwriting wasn’t as good as I’d like, I owned and used a couple typewriters -manual typewriters. To this day, if I forget myself, I pound on computer keyboards hard enough to break them. Those old typewriters were work.

News? It was tough. There were the same TV news shows everyone watched, or the same radio news programs everyone listed to. Newspapers were a lot more popular. Often I’d pick a conservative and a liberal paper to see how they’d treat the same news. For any “alternative” news, the best I could do was short wave radio. That was pretty good. To this day I still have and use a couple shortwave radios.

Did I talk with people more back in the day? That one I had to think about a bit, but I’d have to say no. It takes an effort, but a lot of face to face time with real people goes on.

The Internet made everything but real face to face meetings easier and cheaper. This is an unusual time in history. Never before has it been so easy to access the world and interact with other people. Lets see how long we can hold onto it.



  1. Before the internet we watched TV, before TV we listened to radio, and so on and so on. The ones who read books then read them now.

  2. This subject takes me back some too. Dad was a voracious reader of history, art and had a HUGE collection of classical LPs (even some older reddish colored vinyls from waaaay back), and he passed on the 'Book Worm' gene to me as well. 8^)

    He and I would travel to the Big City, about 200 miles away and we would spend the weekend going to various bookstores and shopping. Probably spend about $200 each on our books, still have a helluva library.

    He's been gone since 1997 (RIP Dad) and I don't have the heart to sell or give some away. Its quite a library.