Bittersweet Feelings As The World Wide Web Turns 25

It's been a quarter-century since the WWW was born.

Today, the World Wide Web turns 25 years old.

For some context (because 1989 does not feel 25 years ago to anyone over 25) that's before the Gulf War, the first episode of the The Simpsons, and the construction of the Chunnel. For a more detailed history, head over here.

Nostalgia for a pre-Internet world, one free of endless streams of viral content and constant communication, remains strong. Really strong.

Here at Fast Company, we've explored this phenomenon in depth, most recently with our #Unplug issue—led by comedian and author Baratunde Thurston's decision to isolate himself from the digital world for a month. Even I, the author of this piece, last year at the age of 22, published an article lamenting the necessity of always being plugged in.

Naturally, in the spirit of the Internet, we turned to Twitter for your opinion on the matter, and asked you a simple question: What do you miss (if anything) about life before the World Wide Web? The question garnered a hearty response. Below, a few of the most compelling responses—if you'd like to add your two cents, please tell us in the comments!

[Image: Flickr user Rachel Titiriga and Flickr user mandiberg]

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  • Debbie Inman

    I miss the human contact as quite often emails are sent within companies rather than taking the time to talk to someone. The personal touch is often best as sometimes email content can be misconstrued - I'm sure there have been many unnecessary conflicts because of this!

    I remember when they first introduced computers into my workplace 20 years ago - when I saw emails I said, "this will never catch on". How wrong was I?!

  • Life used to be simpler and you actually got to spend quality time with your loved ones and acquaintances. Now everything is a rush. Nevertheless, the web has proven more useful than not, so in the end it is a matter of common sense in terms of how you use it and let it interfere with your life.

  • Great question. What did we DO before the web??? Chatted on a land line phone with friends without getting dropped, called people to ask a question vs click a key, watched quality TV, interacted more with people and probably was a better conversationalist than I am now.