By John Kultgen
Teens today don't have it as tough as we did: Answering machines sometimes didn't record your message. You had to settle for a celebrity's autograph because you forgot your camera. Times were hard; yet we still found ways to communicate.
While social media platforms are relatively new, the way people socialize on them have always existed. Coupling that fact with nostalgia, here are 9 things from the '90s--that may or may not have deserved to be replaced.
Then: If you forgot to ask for a girl's phone number at the bowling alley, you’d hope that her parents listed their information in the white pages. (And then, based on the high school she told you she attended, you deduced that she lived at the Smith household listed in Scarsdale, not the one in White Plains.) Now: You immediately find your crush on Facebook. Once he/she accepts your friend request, you casually start a message thread. Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: Having to talk to someone's parents on the phone.
Then: You wound up the camera, clicked, and prayed that the picture came out. If you were risk averse, you’d take the picture twice. Now: You use filters and clever captions to enhance a photo. Downside: Your friends all have to agree that they look okay before you post it. Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: Red-eye.
Then: These two-way radios allowed you to play Cops, War, or whatever insolently violent game society’s masculine stereotypes thrust upon you. This was before cell phones, so the idea of communicating with your friend in another room without your mom hearing was pretty cool. Now: You can receive a snap message in silence, encouraging even more top secret playing. However, Snapchat has that bad rap for primarily being used for inappropriate pic swapping. Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: Your next-door neighbor moving “out of range,” the catalyst for your friendship falling apart.
Then: You had a lot of feelings, so you cut up a bunch of magazines. Now: You have a lot of recipe and wedding ideas, so you pin a lot of inspirations. Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: Modge Podge sticking to your fingers.
Then: Ultra-geeky fathers preferred to capture everything on this device and then whipped out the tapes years later to embarrass you in front of your prom date. Upside: You had proof that you were an adorable baby. Now: If it’s even slightly eventful, someone uploads it to YouTube. Upside: If you're an adorable baby, you have the chance to be Internet famous (e.g. "Charlie Bit My Finger!"). Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: Having the VHS reel break and trying to tape it back together.
Then: You wrote your opinions down and hoped no one would read them. Now: You write your opinions down, and hope someone will read them. Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: Losing the absurdly tiny key that unlocked the diary. It’s not like they could email you a new one.
Then: If you were looking for a business, you’d have to take your chances with the yellow pages. You knew the business was fancy if it splurged to have a two-toned graphic instead of just the name listed, but that wasn't an indication of service quality. Now: You search online. Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: Businesses not having ratings and mapped locations.
Then: Companies listed positions in the newspaper, so descriptions were brief. Luckily you could call them. Now: Without a word limit, companies feel it necessary to write a job description longer than the Old Testament. And it usually includes "self-starter," "hard-worker," and "fast-paced environment." Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: Having to reprint your resume because you accidentally spilled coffee on it before you put it in the large manila envelope.
Then: You basically had to choose your torture: 1) Sit in a room and awkwardly monologue about yourself for a video or 2) Describe yourself on the phone/classifieds dating section. Now: Swipe through potential mates faster than glancing over condiments at the supermarket. Today’s Kids Will Never Know The Pain Of: The inability to "block" creepers from contacting you repeatedly.
What social network did I miss? Comment below and I'll reply with what '90s thing was replaced.