9 things that social media has made obsolete

It wasn’t that long ago that disposable cameras and the phone book were necessary resources for life. Now, we’ve got Instagram and Yelp—and they fit in our pockets.


Teens today don’t have it as tough as we did. Answering machines sometimes didn’t record your message. You had to settle for a celebrity’s autograph because you forgot your camera. Times were hard, yet we still found ways to communicate. Though social media platforms are relatively new, the way people socialize have always existed. With nostalgia in mind, here are nine things from the past few decades that may or may not have deserved to be replaced. 1. The white pages (Replaced by Facebook) Then: If you forgot to ask for a prospective date’s phone number at the bowling alley, you’d hope that his or her parents listed their information in the white pages. (And then, based on the high school your target of affection claimed to attend, you deduced that she lived at the Smith household listed in Scarsdale, not the one in White Plains.) Now: You immediately find your crush on Facebook. Once he/she accepts your friend request, you casually start a message thread. Today’s kids will never know the pain of: Having to talk to someone’s parents on the phone. 2. Disposable cameras (Replaced by Instagram) Then: You wound up the camera, clicked, and prayed that the picture came out. If you were risk-averse, you’d take the picture twice. Now: You use filters and clever captions to enhance a photo. The downside is your friends all have to agree that they look OK before you post it. Today’s kids will never know the pain of: Red-eye. 3. Walkie-talkies (Replaced by Snapchat) Then: These two-way radios allowed you to play cops, war, or whatever violent game society thrust upon you. This was before cell phones, so the idea of communicating with your friend in another room without your mom hearing was pretty cool. Now: You can receive a snap message in silence, encouraging even more top secret playing. However, Snapchat has that bad rap for primarily being used for inappropriate pic swapping. Today’s kids will never know the pain of: Their next-door neighbors moving “out of range,” the catalyst for friendships falling apart. 4. The “art” of collage (Replaced by Pinterest) Then: You had a lot of feelings, so you cut up a bunch of magazines. Now: You have a lot of recipe and wedding ideas, so you pin a lot of inspirations. Today’s kids will never know the pain of: Modge Podge sticking to their fingers. 5. Camcorders (Replaced by video apps/YouTube) Then: Ultra-geeky fathers preferred to capture everything on this device and then whipped out the tapes years later to embarrass their kids in front of their prom dates. The upside was you had proof that you were an adorable baby. Now: If it’s even slightly eventful, someone uploads it to YouTube. The new upside is, if you’re an adorable baby, you have the chance to be Internet famous (e.g., “Charlie Bit My Finger!”). Today’s kids will never know the pain of: Having the VHS reel break and trying to tape it back together. 6. Diaries (Replaced By Tumblr) Then: You wrote your opinions down and hoped no one would read them. Now: You write your opinions down and hope someone will read them. Today’s kids will never know the pain of: Losing the absurdly tiny key that unlocked the diary. It’s not like the printer could email you a new one. 7. The yellow pages (Replaced by Google+/Yelp/Foursquare) Then: If you were looking for a business, you’d have to take your chances with the yellow pages. You knew the business was fancy if it splurged to have a two-toned graphic instead of just having its name listed, but that wasn’t really an indication of quality. Now: You search online and let customer reviews tell the tale. Today’s kids will never know the pain of: Businesses’ not having ratings and mapped locations. 8. The employment classifieds (Replaced by LinkedIn/Craigslist/Monster/CareerBuilder) Then: Companies listed positions in the newspaper, so descriptions were brief. Lucky thing was that you could call them. Now: Without a word limit, companies feel it necessary to write a job description longer than the Old Testament. And it usually includes “self-starter,” “hard-worker,” and “fast-paced environment.” Today’s kids will never know the pain of: Having to reprint your resume because you accidentally spilled coffee on it before you put it in the large manila envelope. 9. Dating hotlines and services (Replaced By Tinder) Then: You basically had to choose your torture: (1) Sit in a room and awkwardly monologue about yourself for a video, or (2) Describe yourself on the phone/classifieds dating section. Now: Swipe through potential mates faster than glancing over condiments at the supermarket. Today’s kids will never know the pain of: The inability to “block” creepers from contacting you repeatedly.

Anything to add, PR Daily readers? What else has been supplanted by social media? John Kultgen is a content director at Likeable Media. A version of this article originally appeared on the company’s blog. (Image via)

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