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What's your earliest memory of the internet?

Clover

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I was born in 2001, so I always grew up with a PC in the house, but I wasn't allowed to use it (nor would I have known how to) until about 2008. My earliest internet-related memories are of my father playing World of Warcraft while my brother and I played on the floor (he was a teenage parent, only 21 at that time, so being neglected in favor of WOW was a common occurrence.) Sometimes our parents would throw a party and use the computer for music. Other than that, I had no knowledge of how computers worked or what their primary purpose was, aside from the occasional day in school where the teachers would bring out laptops for us to do research-based assignments on. My classmates generously showed me how to play Minesweeper, Pinball, and a few MS DOS games (that were included on the school computers for some reason) like Oregon Trail and Odell Down Under, which I still enjoy to this day. My home PC was Windows XP, the school computers were still running Windows 98 at that point (2006-2008 or thereabouts) because it was a shitty underfunded school in Arkansas.

Around 2008 I saw my brother watching YouTube videos and wanted to watch videos too, but didn't understand how to navigate the site, so my father showed me how. My brother taught me the rest about basic computer-using/internet-browsing knowledge, like how to Google search, how to save files, so on. I was very into Pokémon (and other Nintendo franchises), dinosaurs, techno music, and some anime at the time, so I mostly used the internet to read about my interests or look at art related to them (and watch AMVs and flash animations, of course.) Around 2009, one of my favorite TV channels was 4Kids, and I went on the channel's website and noticed they had games to play. That led me to playing flash games and eventually to DeviantArt, Newgrounds, Kongregate, Armor Games, and XGen Studios. The 4Kids website also introduced me to Dino Run, a once-multiplayer pixel game where you played as a dinosaur, running from extinction and gathering points on the way. My username was "Kikiyo.Demon.Wolf", "Kikiyo" being a misspelling of Kikyo, a character from the anime InuYasha (which would air at 3-4 AM on Adult Swim - I also have fond memories of 8-year-old me waking up in the middle of the night and watching it) and the "demon wolf" part coming from a character I'd made up that was half-demon, half-wolf. I'd roleplay as this character in the chatroom, despite being, you know, a dinosaur.

By the time I was 10, I was getting into art and had a fairly good grasp on how to use social media/community-based websites. I made a DeviantArt account shortly after I turned 10 (with my parents permission! I was such a goody two-shoes back then.) to post my shitty anime furry art and follow other like-minded shitty anime furry artists (but all due respect, I loved those artists and they greatly influenced my development as a person.) As the atmosphere of the internet changed around the turn of the 2010s and the "wild west" feel turned into a "centralized social media" feel, I eventually settled on DeviantArt and Tumblr (which inevitably got me into fandom blogging about my interests.) I was on those two platforms on a daily basis until about 2015. I developed greatly as a person during those five years, from 10 to 15 years old, and despite the occasional drama I don't regret it, as the users of those sites introduced me to so many interesting things I likely would've never discovered without. I experienced the brony phenomenon, Gangnam Style, "superwholock", Homestuck, the beginning of the "post-trollface" meme era, hypebeast/swagfag fashion, obsessive Justin Bieber/One Direction fangirls, the beginning of the "SJW" era, aesthetic blogging, vaporwave... I'm also nostalgic for all of that, albeit in a different way. For better or worse, those sites as good as dead now.

I don't currently use any social media, assuming this website and anonymous imageboards don't count. I respect people's choice to use it, but it's just unfamiliar terrain for me. I've never used Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc., and have no plans to. Because leaving DeviantArt and Tumblr in 2015 was my equivalent of leaving social media, it felt like a chapter of my life closing. Now I just stick to my quiet corners of the web (whatever are left, thanks to internet censorship and the encroaching shadow of major corporations...) either talking to other 20-something's about our mundane-young-adult-in-2021 lives or reminiscing on the past like everyone else here is.
 
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Probably late 1993 or 1994 my dad hooked our Gateway 2000 Windows 3.11 (~~For Workgroups~~) machine up to a modem so he could log on to CompuServe from home. I don't remember a lot in detail, but I do recall thinking that email was just a robot going to our mailbox and reading our letters? I was a very small child.
 
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SaddamH2006

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4kids.com flash game section and youtube, back when shit like peanutbutter jelly time and the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny was popular. I still remember my login for 4kids.com too...
 
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Christopher McClaren

back in the day when it would take minutes to download an image of a cat
 
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back in the day when it would take minutes to download an image of a cat
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSKBRWoGvL0


Speaking of America's Favorite Family, another early memory of the Internet was my dad demonstrating it to a friend by downloading a relatively hi-res photo of Orenthal James and co. Either the image format everyone used or the browser (probably still Mosaic, but possibly already Netscape Navigator) had a distinctive technique for rastering image downloads so you got the even rows (from 0) and then the odd rows.
 
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Merzcat

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My earliest memory is around the early 00s or late 90s having my friends print out cheats and porn for me.
I didn't have my own internet connection until like 2002.
 
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spaceghost

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through my whole childhood my mom and dad always fought, and when i was about 4 years old my mom brought me and moved in with my stepdad. The first night sleeping there i remember they just layed me back to sleep in the bedroom where this little square tv was on and was running a blue screen, i fell right asleep. The next morning, i get up and go outside to my stepdads trailer that he hangs out in, where he has tons of different computer parts organized and indexed, and he has 2 computers, one on each side of the trailer. on one side, my mom was smoking a cigarette playing solitaire, on the other, my stepdad was reading up on something on his computer. After he was done reading, he told me to come sit next to him and he started teaching me how to navigate windows xp and windows 7. it was a petty surreal experience and he let me use any of his computers whenever after a little while, regardless of if he was around to supervise me or not, i must have been pretty trustworthy lols. my first experience with the internet i can remember is when me and my mom were watching music vidoes on youtube. LMFAO, flyleaf, shit like that. oh and raft wars that game was the shit costanzayeahrightsmirk

 
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Andy Peterson

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Around 1998/99 my Dad got a new computer and a CompuServe subscription along with it. I can remember my sister and I setting up our usernames and email. A big Pokemon fan at the time, I chose "ninetales038" or something along those lines. A few days or maybe weeks later I got an email from someone with a pokemon related name, I think it was Poliwhirl-something. This was a total stranger and I can't remember what they said, but we emailed back and forth (presumably about pokemon) for a few weeks.
 
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Around 1998/99 my Dad got a new computer and a CompuServe subscription along with it. I can remember my sister and I setting up our usernames and email. A big Pokemon fan at the time, I chose "ninetales038" or something along those lines. A few days or maybe weeks later I got an email from someone with a pokemon related name, I think it was Poliwhirl-something. This was a total stranger and I can't remember what they said, but we emailed back and forth (presumably about pokemon) for a few weeks.
Ah, cool. Even though we had it in the house, I never really had the opportunity to play around with CompuServe.
 
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AMC_Squared

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My parents used to own an internet cafe back in 2003-2007. They actually liked the idea of me hopping onto the internet at home and at the cafe and it was really a whole different experience. Even my father let me play Grand Theft Auto: Vice City when I was 3.

The earliest experience I had with the internet I could recall was probably back around 2004 which was me playing on the Discovery Kids' page, animating stuff on Windows 3D Movie Maker 1995 at my school, and even playing games that came in CDs inside cereal boxes. I still remember that My first YouTube video I watched was released back in November 23, 2006 and that's roughly the same time I started falling into a rabbit hole lurking the internet, from the dark web to the old days of /b/. I could keep going about how my experience was from back in the day with the internet but I feel like I would say too much! ;)
Grand Theft Auto Gta Iii GIF
 
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reynad5150

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Doom deathmatch, and downloading Slackware linux for my mom's old compaq machine.
Also porn was much more enjoyable as you had to wait for images to download at 28 kb/s :p
 
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crimesagainsthumanity

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my memory (especially about my childhood) is incredibly scarce but the strongest memory i remember of early internet was playing webkinz (better than neopets; ill argue about this til the day i die) in the late 2000's. that and my mom posting videos of our cat fighting a toothbrush.
 
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Wally

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My mom is a office worker

So I remember be into old news websites when nobody else on our street knew what the internet was
 
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Vanillangelchic

This is how I remember the internet. I created an AOL account after my friends down the street got Internet. I was maybe 8-10. I am now 35. It was so addictive. Oh and all the creepers on the internet and pedophiles. The Glamorous, the Flossy Flossy!

I remember going in all the chat rooms and there were no moderators yet. A/s/l anyone? You've Got Mail!
 

kultra

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I was an avid yahooligans user, but finding pokemon fansites through that search engine still had me landing on anime titties via webrings and links. Earliest memory, probably searching "triceratops" on regular Yahoo.
 
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I was an avid yahooligans user, but finding pokemon fansites through that search engine still had me landing on anime titties via webrings and links. Earliest memory, probably searching "triceratops" on regular Yahoo.
I remember the cool mom who ran my elementary school library's computer lab giving us a lesson with yahooligans, but I couldn't remember whether it was just a curated search engine or a fully sandboxed portal--I guess the tiddies answers that.
 
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Rikstah

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What's your earliest memory of the internet?

Here's mine. I was like, 11 or so and my parents were really against internet access, but I had to do research for some school project, I don't remember what, and we couldn't find books for it, no idea why. So, they let me use the internet to do the research. I had a little bit of an idea how to use the internet because I'd seen teachers use it, but it was really confusing at first. When I got the hang of it I remember being really amazed by how much easier it was to learn things, I could just click links within wikipedia and get even more information on a specific topic, or google something to find even more than that. I didn't have to ask a librarian to help me, or try to find a certain book, or ask the library to order a book then wait weeks for it to come in. All the information was just right there. It was really nice.
My earliest memory of the internet was when we first got access in 1995 with a 28.8kbps modem. I was 7 years old and mucking around with my older brother on the internet. We somehow found a really basic animation that went for about 5 seconds where a guy opens up a can of smoked fish and then smokes the fish.

I'll never forget it because its literally the first piece of content I ever consumed on the internet. That was extremely early days for internet animation too.
 
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Shrug

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I didn't have internet at home for most of my childhood, so my earliest memory of it was begging my grandma to use her ancient computer to print out cheat codes for whatever video games I was playing at the time. I remember how cryptic and strange the internet seemed. The dial-up tone scared the crap out of me. I hardly used the internet at all until years later I got a crappy secondhand laptop from a relative and then I became absolutely addicted to it.
 
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