It’s hard for me to remember a time before Facebook and Twitter were common daily visits during my time spent online. And if I’m being honest, I’m glad that they weren’t around when I was in middle and high-school. Myspace was a big thing during my junior and senior year, and Facebook became popular in my area just as I was heading off to college. Although some people might argue that now is the best time to be active online, I think I had the most fun on the Internet when I was 9-16 years old. Here’s why.
AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)
I would say that my social life depended greatly on AIM- AOL Instant Messenger. Everyone who was anyone had a screen name- usually something really embarrassing with the word “chica” or their football number in it- and spent a good chunk of their after-school hours on the addictive chat program. Coming from a small town and school, my classmates and I would have group chats at night after school where we just made fun of each other, shared funny pictures, and played games. It was also a great way to see what everyone was doing. If you were at the basketball game, you’d write it in your away message. If you were going through a breakup, you’d put some “Taking Back Sunday” lyrics in your profile.
Don’t ask me how I got started on this internet phenomenon, because I can’t even remember. Neopets was this virtual pet website where you adopted strange creatures and played with them, bought them stuff, etc. I remember you received coins for every game you played and I was all about having the most coins. Clearly I was a greedy, awkward 12- year old.
My first taste of graphic design and web design was making cartoon dolls (or Dollz/Prep Dolls as they were sometimes called). I used good old MS Paint and Gimp to create and customize the dolls- which were basically a mix between Barbies and paper dolls in a graphic form. I loved designing their clothes, coloring their hair and of course changing their makeup. I even displayed my dolls on my own website, which was hosted by Gurlpages (anyone remember that?).
I’m not going to say I illegally downloaded music. But I’m not going to say I didn’t either. Kazaa was one of the first file-sharing P2P services I used. While it gave my brother and I a huge collection of songs and videos, I’m pretty sure it ultimately led to our family desktop crashing. Sorry Dad.
I remember watching this tons of times with friends and we would sing the song out loud. It would not get out of your head. Then there was the fishy dance and a bunch of spin-offs, which were equally as annoying and addictive. You can even view the original page here. You’re welcome.
I suppose LiveJournal was my first attempt at blogging. I wrote what I did each day, the funny things that happened in school, and even wrote reviews of shows like American Idol. I deleted my account a long time ago, but it would be hilarious to re-read all the stuff I wrote. I remember I had so many internet friends and we all commented on each other’s journals- much like blogging today!
What were some of your favorite websites/games you remember from the Internet in the 90’s/early 00’s?