Do you remember life before the internet? | Panda Anku

By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

What have we lost through the internet?

The internet, or the people who benefit from it, have often consciously attempted to replace many aspects of our everyday lives.

From work to travel and shopping to entertainment and crime, nothing is the same and has been for many decades, if not much longer.

What should we try to reclaim?

From infants to the elderly, we all need, even crave, physical contact with life experiences, from cooking to walking to building or designing things.

A Zoom meeting is nothing more than a real face-to-face meeting.

Basically, our technology and our use of it should make us more human, not less.

These endless digital chirps and beeps from literally anywhere in the world constantly bother and annoy us, preventing us from being fully present — or even focusing on where we actually are.

How many of us have online “friends” that we’ve never met — and have no intention of meeting?

Data protection or the like is long gone.

We cast a digital “shadow” with every purchase, every photo and, of course, wherever we carry our favorite device with us.


Remember when a phone was just a phone?

In the old pre-smartphone days, a call went to a phone that was physically attached to a wall or building.

And a phone was a family or home phone – not a phone for or for an individual.

Most households had a telephone in a central area – usually the living room or kitchen.

Even without a loudspeaker, a telephone call was a public or at least a shared experience.

The most common conversations started with “What are you doing?”. instead of the current “Where are you?”

Most of the phone’s applications are now silent – SMS, for example.

But hearing one-sided conversations in public has become all too common.

Overheard arguments and romantic breakups have become a standard aspect of our public experience.


Newspapers and news magazines have pages that lie still, with no glowing lights or pop-up ads — and no batteries.

And a physical format, like a book or magazine, has finite space – in contrast to the seemingly infinite nature of what the Internet presents to us.

Do we need near-constant updates on every conceivable catastrophe and catastrophe around the world?

Do we need to see or hear insane talk of conspiracies and the insane fringes of every spectrum?

Or even the most paranoid delusions of our neighbors about “Next Door” among other things?

We can “learn” anything from a YouTube video. But how many of us know how to get along without them?

doom scrolling

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and look at your phone and find yourself sleepily paralyzed by disasters from strangers thousands of miles away?

That screen time in the middle of the night won’t help you sleep better.

Could you imagine explaining this experience to an earlier generation?

I forgot my cell phone!

How many times have you been out somewhere and found you forgot your phone somewhere?

It’s a state of panic that couldn’t be described to anyone about a decade ago.

A generation ago everyone knew where their phone was – it was attached to a wall at home.

to be out of touch

In the old pre-internet days, you could go for a walk or even take a long vacation and be completely out of touch – from spammers, work and family members.

Sometimes I’ll go for a walk or a bike ride or even a social event and will purposely leave my phone at home.

When that happens, and it almost always happens, people are horrified — it’s like I left a vital organ behind.

get lost

GPS on every phone is a lifesaver. But it also murdered our sense of direction and our ability to find our way in any environment from the wilderness to the urban center. And the ability to read maps.

Paper maps have guided us humans for centuries, if not longer, but suddenly we’ve lost our ability (or inclination) to use them.

Many of us can barely walk down the street without a device to guide us


It would be easy to argue that it wasn’t the computer that transformed the workplace – and work itself – but internet access.

Computers alone allowed us to store, use, and access information much faster and more efficiently than ever before.

But the internet offered more. Much more. The internet gives us access to information – and insane frenzy and crazy and unscrupulous theories and fantasies and utter deception and manipulation from anywhere – or any bias or deception – in the world.

Are we interested in anything? do we know something

In pre-internet times, we might read a book (or more than one) on a subject and have informed, committed opinions on each subject.

But thanks to social media, we can “like” a post or a meme. And five minutes later we completely forgot what we “liked”.

What do we really “know” or care about in the age of the internet?


In the days before the Internet, generation after generation left photographs and documents, from handwritten letters to receipts and private diaries, that gave future researchers and family historians a glimpse into the daily habits and recorded thoughts of long-gone ancestors.

In the Internet age, digital records are locked into platforms.

Written records, even centuries old, are still accessible to anyone who can read.

Who Uses Cash? Who is physically shopping?

Cryptocurrencies, online shopping, video bingeing, imagine going back in time and trying to explain any of it to a generation that is no longer alive.

life before…

I’m old enough to remember life before the internet.

I’m also old enough to remember what we thought/imagined/hoped/feared the internet would do to and for us.

I belong to the generation of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and have shared many of their visions of what the Internet could do for us.

We assumed that “access” and “connectivity” would affirm our common humanity and that peace—and truth—would prevail.

We had assumed that deception and manipulation would be immediately exposed and discredited – unaccepted and enshrined in laws and policies.

We envisioned immensity and even a whole new “age”, but few of us, even in our darkest dystopian fantasies, thought that the internet would in turn create us in its own image.

Whether positive or negative, one world and way of life has been left behind and, as long as we have a good signal, is lost forever.

But if the power goes out…

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