People who were around before the Internet, what did you initially think about it? How did you get used to it?

I'm 27. I think I grew up as an ideal "transition" kid. We started getting computer games when I was in kindergarten and internet probably when I was in like third grade. I vividly remember looking up cheats or hints for Donkey Kong on SNES on the computer, and looking at some weird geocities-like site for the walkthrough. Don't know why I have that memory. I think I was too young to register how incredible it was at the time.

The internet was completely different back then. Nowadays Google is essentially the starting point for everything on the internet. Need to know something? Just Google the answer. We didn't have that. We had AltaVista and Infoseek and other search engines that were pretty poor quality. Nowadays you rarely, if ever, have to go past the first five search results to find what you're looking for. Back then, you were going through 5-10 pages of results.

It wasn't even that useful as a source of information. Instead of searching for information on the internet we had Compton's Encyclopedia on our computer. I remember using it for book reports. But I also remember using hard copy encyclopedias for reports. I remember going to the library and having to look up books in their terrible DOS based search engines, to find books, to make a giant pile of them on a table just so you increase your chances that what you're looking for was in that pile. I used card catalogs a few times, but by the time I was in school it was mostly on the way out.

School reports sucked because of all this. In order to get one done you'd actually have to go to the library and go through the above process. We also hand wrote most of our reports in elementary school, though that might have been to allow us to practice handwriting as we certainly had word processors back then.

As most people my age (a good chunk of Redditors) could probably agree, the internet wasn't really a social place. It was a place where you went for information, not connection. Not until AIM, at least. That, ICQ and MSN changed the game. Then shortly thereafter I was all over Myspace and Livejournal, then signed up for a Facebook, and the rest is history.

/r/AskReddit Thread