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Life Before Facebook: 10 Ways Life Has Changed


It’s the first thing I look at when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I look at before my head hits the pillow at night. What is it? Facebook.

I’m completely aware of how consumed I am by reading every single post made by mankind on Facebook. Am I addicted? Yeah, a little. Could I go without Facebook for a couple days? I have. And it was terrible. I worked for a company that made each employee take a week furlough unpaid and part of the rule was no work, no phone calls, no emails, no Facebook, no communication with fellow employees, pretty much no nothing or we’d be fired. It wasn’t not being allowed on Facebook that bothered me as much as it was that during my week furlough, I was at the beach and couldn’t share what was going on with my friends as it unfolded. I had to wait until the week was up to post the photos and video. Not having the instant gratification of being able to share something ate at my insides.

Isn’t it funny then to think that I was in my mid-20′s when Facebook was introduced? For 20 some years I survived without posting as it happened to Facebook. For 20 some years, I waited to see my vacation pictures until they’d been developed at the drug store. For 20 some years, if I was on vacation and wanted to talk to a friend, I’d send a post card.  There was no instant messenger.

Here are some of the other things we did before Facebook. This isn’t to say we never do these things any more, but they were such a bigger part of our lives before Facebook:

1. We stalked boys by prank calling them. His name was Shane and my friend Raina had the biggest crush on him. He was the new guy at school and for whatever reason, when girls were into boys, it always ended up involving prank calls. At least with my friends and me it did. We’d call Shane’s number and shush each other while simultaneously giggling into the pillows while we waited for him to answer the line so that we could badly disguise our voices and ask completely random questions that I’m sure made no sense. Instead of stalking hotties on Facebook, we prank called them.

2.  We learned to do our hair and makeup from friends, not videos. Instead of watching Facebook video tutorials on how to do our makeup or hair, we’d all pile into a car and drive to the house of the girl who knew all the latest tricks. We’d plop down at her kitchen table and wait while she gathered her 300 Caboodles (my cousin was one of the Caboodles model-but that’s a different story for another time) and spread everything out. She’d pick one of us and the rest of the afternoon was spent trying out different shadows and blushes and gels and hairsprays.  That’s how we learned.

3. We were on the hunt for Carmen Sandiego. Instead of Farmville or Candy Crush, those of us who were lucky enough to have the game, would pull out the floppy disk and fire up “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” on our Commodore 64.  Looking back, can you believe we had that much fun playing such a primitive game?

4. We went to the mall. The place to see and be seen was the mall. I wouldn’t know much about it because I wasn’t ever allowed to “hang” out at the mall. I was that pathetic teen who trailed behind her mom into Northern Reflections while my friends were snapping their bubblegum inside the 9.99 Stockroom. But from what I’ve been told, the mall was definitely the “it” place.

5. We roller-skated. My Dad was a weekend skate guard at a place called Guptills. Rumor has it, it’s the world’s largest indoor roller rink. To this day, whenever I hear Real McCoy or Haddaway or La Bouche, I smile and think of all the Saturdays spent at the rink. I also think about those awkward couples skates. Enough said.

6.  We played outdoors, yes even as adults. Before you go thinking that everything I’m mentioning is reminiscent of my childhood, I’d like to point out that kickball was and still is a very huge deal in Vermont with adults. As a matter of fact, the rule then was that no kids were allowed to play. Probably because there were beverages involved, but I digress.  Adult only and no holds barred. Nobody was glued to their cell. Nobody was snapping photos or updating their status. Nobody shouted out “you take my turn while I upload this video to Facebook.”  We all just played.

7. We went “calling.” When someone we knew was sick, we’d go visit them. We’d take them a card and flowers or some other token of our love and we’d sit with them. We didn’t leave get well messages on their Facebook page. We went to them. And when we went to them, our faces weren’t buried in our phones. They got us. All of us.

8. We wrote letters. Other than the letter my five year old niece wrote to me in words only she can understand, I can’t remember a time in this last year that I received a letter from a friend. Cards? Yes. But a full blown letter detailing life and all the things happening? No. Maybe this is why all those shoe boxes I’ve got tucked away with letters wrapped in ribbon are so special to me. They may be the last of their kind.

9. We didn’t know everything. When we ran into someone we hadn’t seen in a while we actually talked and caught up with what was going on in their life and there was so much to talk about. Now when we run  into a Facebook friend we haven’t actually seen in forever there’s not much to say except “I saw on Facebook.”

10. We got our news from the radio or television. Remember when watching the nightly news was a big deal? Remember when listening to the radio for the latest news was the first thing you’d do in the morning? Now, we can get all we could ever want to know and then some from our Facebook feed as it happens.

What are some of the things you did before Facebook? How has Facebook changed your life?

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