What Do You Miss About Life Before The Digital Age?

It’s #unplug week here at Fast Company. Let’s dig into our reader reminiscences of analog things past.

What Do You Miss About Life Before The Digital Age?

This week, coinciding with our #unplug week, we’re asking a series of questions about just that: freeing yourself from the digital world.


To kick things off, we thought it appropriate to focus on the days before everyone had a Facebook page and racked up hundreds (if not thousands) of texts and tweets each month. You remember those days, right?

It’s safe to say you do, because our question clearly touched a (digitized) nerve, bringing in nearly 200 responses.

What do you miss (if anything) about life before the digital age?

Let the nostalgia flow!

Human contact (or a guilt-free lack of) was a biggie

If anything brings you back to the days before email and video chats, it’s receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. Do you remember the excitement of opening an envelope to find a message scribbled in something other than Arial or Helvetica font?

Handwritten letters last and have meaning. There’s much more than the words on the paper–you’re not just getting a letter, but a slice of another person’s life.


Besides, who’s going to print a Christmas email and put it above the mantel, or hang a birthday text on the fridge? There’s nothing quite like receiving a letter that’s been penned (that’s right, written with a pen) specifically for you. Give it a try–we guarantee you’ll make someone’s day.

Oh, the glory days, when it was perfectly okay to say you missed a call, or weren’t near a phone. Now, your friends know when you read their text messages, when you’re online, and it’s impossible to “miss” a call without insulting them.

Sometimes we just want to be left alone, okay? (And no, it doesn’t mean we don’t like you.)

If you’re dating someone and want to call it quits, the least you can do is give them (and your reputation) the decency of a face-to-face conversation. Also: Never text during movies.

The hits just keep coming . . .

This one’s for you, Maurice, you gangster of love.


This response was one of our favorites. Do you remember the days when boredom was okay? Instead of picking up your phone or surfing the web, why not pick up a book, or take a walk in nature?

There is a world away from the screen. Really.

Oh, and don’t forget: Boredom is key to your creativity.

So MTV is over 30 years old. They’re old, and used to play–gaspmusic, among other awesome things.

That’s all for now, but you might want to bookmark this article for that awkward conversation when your child asks, the bright glow of an iPhone upon their face: “Mom, Dad… what was life like before Angry Birds?”

[Image: Flickr user Bradley Gordon]


About the author

Former Editorial Assistant Miles Kohrman helped run Fast Company's homepage and completed miscellaneous tasks around the newsroom. He is a 2013 graduate of The New School.