Off the Cuff: Life as it was before social media

Off the Cuff: Life as it was before social media

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Someone asked on Twitter, what did you do on the internet before social media. I remember hanging out in MSN chat rooms with crazy groups of people.

For the first time in my life I could be totally anonymous and say some of the most outlandish things and no one could do anything, or so I believed for a while. Nobody, obviously, used their real name and at any given time the chat room would have a ‘Hammer of Death’ or a ‘Princess of Darkness’.

Sometimes I would forget who I was pretending to be and when I was caught out, had to exit the room in embarrassment. By the time I had found out about chat rooms, unfortunately everyone on this new platform was young and I could not pretend to be young because this species has its own language and ways of communicating.

I then had to find a chat room with people of similar interests, such as ‘Reading’ or ‘Movies’. But nobody seemed to be talking about these subjects, so when I mentioned that I had read a book by a famous author recently, there was no response for a few fleeting seconds. “Ha ha, get outta here,” somebody then said and everyone ganged up against me and I had to flee.

My friends say they cannot remember what they did before social media and Facebook, but I remember listening to the radio and anxiously waiting after requesting the announcer for a song to be played.

– Mahmood Saberi

In the “mature” chat rooms everyone seemed to be flirting, and most of time there was a lot of talk about travel and sea cruises and flying off to the Caribbean, and it was all too exciting and strenuous.

I learnt that once you get on the internet, you invariably bring in to your PC all sorts of online junk that makes the computer run very slow. I then became addicted to defragging and most of the time I would spend watching a bar on the screen slowly progress as Windows cleaned up the hard disk and neatly arranged my files.

I tried playing online games but everyone seemed to be experts at checkers, chess and the card game rummy, and before I knew what was happening, I had lost and the winner had moved on.

Radio ga ga

My friends say they cannot remember what they did before social media and Facebook, but I remember listening to the radio and anxiously waiting after requesting the announcer for a song to be played.

He was not called a radio jockey (RJ) at that time, but he usually favoured people from the Kolar Gold Fields, somewhere near Bengaluru, who had boring song requests, and he never played my song. Some of my friends said that before the internet and social media, they kept track of their friends through newspapers and the obituaries column.

“You know Sankey, the chap with the bad ticker and a nagging wife? He has copped it. Do you think we should send flowers or does Hinkiy have pollen allergy? At this rate there would only be women left in this world,” a friend would remark.

There were no dating apps at that time, but the good old print media, newspapers, had matrimonial adverts that came out on Sunday. It was never a girl or a boy who would place the ads, but their parents. “Looking for a wheat-complexion, MBBS girl, who is homely (meaning who does all the housework) for our handsome boy who owns his own tractor.”

Most of the chat rooms closed years ago and now people have found Facebook where they can abuse and harass their long-lost friends.

Yahoo closed its Messenger service last year. People were upset and wanted to know how they could download their chat room history.

[“source=gulfnews”]