Social Media

 8 Things People Did Before Social Media #LifeBeforeSM

By: Rebecca Tilbor

When discussing college life with my parents, they often talk about simpler times. Times when friends didn’t hang out in person, only to sit on their phone the whole time. Times when if you got lost, you couldn’t check Google maps to help you out. Times when you couldn’t look at your ex- boyfriend’s current girlfriend’s Facebook page to see what was happening in their relationship. Times when people would sit outside on warm days on campus and actually talk. Now, I’m not here to bash social media and say that it’s ruining our lives. I am fully aware of the benefits of social media and how it has changed our world for the better—get information in seconds, connect with old friends, start a revolution, for example. I’m here to talk about what life was like before social media. What did people do when they couldn’t post their delicious food on Instagram? What did people do before they could post funny stories on Snapchat? What did people do before they could tweet their every thought on Twitter? Throughout this post, I am going to explore what life was like before social media—a life my generation does not know. For better or for worse, here are 8 things people did before social media:

  1. No Online Shopping

Blizzard coming up and you forgot to bring a scarf to school? Oh well, filling out a catalogue form and having it shipped to your dorm doesn’t take 5-7 business days, it takes MONTHS.

  1. Using physical maps

Running late to class only to realize you have no idea where the building is? It wasn’t as simple as quickly checking the map application on your phone and getting directions in a matter of seconds. You had to actually look at a map and figure it out.

  1. Meeting in Person for Group Projects

You couldn’t easily use Google Drive to communicate and save your work.

  1. Hanging out with your friends and actually talking the entire time

There would be no interruptions to check Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or whatever else we spend our time on nowadays.

  1. No Internet Surfing in Class


Boring professor? Sorry, you can’t drown them out by looking at your crush’s Facebook page. Try counting the ceiling tiles instead.

  1. Couldn’t find the answer to anything they want in seconds


Like the eyeliner your favorite celebrity is wearing? Google wasn’t there to answer your question.

  1. Couldn’t make plans last minute

Want to change what bar you are going to Friday night? People didn’t have cell phones handy to receive a quick text—make sure plans are set in stone prior to everyone leaving the house!

  1. No e-mail

Have a quick question to ask your professor? You definitely needed to attend office hours and stay after class.

Essentially, social media and the Internet have changed our lives forever. People are now accustomed to instant gratification. Whatever question pops in their mind’s they can have answered in a matter of seconds. Whatever they want to find out about another person’s life can be found out in a matter of seconds. Whether this is good or bad, there will always be people on both sides of the argument. No one can argue that social media has definitely changed our everyday lives and made our lives easier. I wonder what college life will be like for my generation’s children—I wonder what will be the next game changer.




5 thoughts on “

  1. That meme is hilarious, and this was a fun topic. In regards to social media, the internet, and cell phones… sometimes I find myself questioning life and my existence just by thinking about how people did things “back then.” “Back then” isn’t even that long ago though! Calling AAA is your car is stuck, writing a 10 page research paper, making plans with friends (like you mentioned)… it blows my mind how people could get anything done without our current technology!

    From a professional social media use, it would also be a lot more difficult “back then” to collect marketing data and carry out marketing initiatives. It’s crazy how our online activity is tracked and put into categories and what not in digital space. The ability to collect that information now is so valuable.


  2. This was a great blog post and an idea that I think about quite often. I have this love/hate relationship with technology, specifically social media, for all of those reasons. It seems as though now it is hard to draw the line when it comes to using social media and the internet because we do have that ability to ultimately find out anything we want to know in a matter of seconds. I don’t think I could function without internet and social media, at least successfully, but recognizing the control it has over us makes me more mindful of my uses of it.


  3. Hey Rebecca I had a draft to blog this same topic for next week and the same cool pic for the vintage social networking! That’s ok, you did a great job going back in time to the things we struggled with before social media. When I was growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s, we did not have any technology so it was even more of a struggle to navigate our way around anywhere and physically go to stores to spend all day shopping for clothes and shoes. Now the convenience of Google Maps and Online shopping is tremendously helpful. Social marketing has given us what we want to know about anything within seconds rather than waiting for the newspaper with ads to come on Sundays.


  4. Great post! I always find myself thinking about how I used to do certain things compared to how I do them now. While we are not that old, we are part of a generation that learned to do things both with and without technology. The main thing I think about is how I used to do research vs. how I do it now. Back in middle school we were not allowed to rely on the Internet when it came to researching for papers and projects; we also utilized the library and had to find at least one encyclopedia article. Now we are able to find the most up-to-date information very quickly. Technology still isn’t foolproof, so while we reap the benefits of it, we can still access those older skills we learned when it fails us!


  5. “People are now accustomed to instant gratification.” So true! You hit the nail on the head. I really miss #7. It is frustrating to me that people don’t make concrete plans anymore because they don’t have to. Great post!


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