Monday, September 16, 2019

Communication Then and Now: Thoughts as a 90's Kid

Communication in the 90s

No matter how devoted you are as a fan of the 90's era, you can't deny the fact that social media has become a great help in reconnecting us to everyone, keeping us updated every day with what's happening to our loved ones, and most importantly, making the communication easier than ever.

Here are some throwbacks to the way we communicated as a 90's kid.



No Smartphones Yet

Cellphones

I remember the times before Friendster became a thing. We didn’t have smartphones yet - all we had was plain mobile phones to text or call people. We had to save from our school allowance to load our prepaid sims. Having no load felt like I was living on a deserted island alone.

Imagine, my mom used to give me P60 to P80 a day for school. The minimum worth of prepaid load back then was P30/day for the unlimited text promo - no calls. No wonder I was thin back in college!

Today, almost everyone has smartphones. Even my favorite fish vendor in our public market is using an iPhone 5s. Wifi access is the only thing we need now to contact anyone through Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Viber, etc. We don’t have to spend a lot on long-distance calls anymore. Therefore, I’m wondering - what happened to those phone operators who used to “connect us” when we were trying to do long-distance or collect calls? I’m sure that whatever happened to them decades ago, it wasn’t easy for them and the families they’re feeding.

Having an Internet Connection at Home Was a Luxury

Internet Prepaid Card

More than 10 years ago, the dial-up internet connection was a thing. It was prepaid so we had to buy prepaid cards to load it just to check our Friendster and Myspace accounts. The speed was horrible, but since we didn’t have a choice back then, we were already satisfied.

If we didn't have at least P100 to buy a prepaid card, we would go to the nearest internet shop (P40 per hour) just to check if we have new messages on Friendster.

Bye-Bye Landline Phones?

telephone

Even landline phones are slowly fading nowadays. 90% of my friends and relatives no longer see the need for having landline phones at home. Even local businesses now prefer using mobile phones (what’s the point if the majority of their customers don’t have landlines, anyway).

More than 20 years ago, having a landline at home was a must. Only well-off businessmen and professionals had mobile phones or pagers. I remember when we were in Grade school, “telebabad” and “party line” were a thing. When 3-way calling, call-waiting, and caller ids were released by PLDT, I pressured my mom to avail those features just to be “in”.

And who could forget the large payphones inside the malls?

Love Letters Were Really a Thing

love letter

I’m pretty sure our kids now will no longer deal with the problem of choosing the best-smelling stationery paper from the store or creating a parent-proof container of love letters. I remember receiving tons of letters from people especially every Valentines Day. The most creative one would win a spot inside my customized shoe box.

By responding to a love letter, it would send the man an unspoken message that he could take the next step in courting the girl. If a girl wouldn’t respond, that would be the equivalent of today’s “seen zoning”. 

Now, courting already became digital. The amount of the suitor’s effort is now being measured by how many times he would send her a private message, by how many of the girl’s posts he would “heart” on both Instagram and Facebook, and by how much he would flaunt her on his wall publicly.


As a 90’s kid, I’m proud to say that I got to experience all of these until college. Don’t get me wrong since I have nothing against this era. Yes, internet and social media made communication easier and made everyone closer - and I’m grateful for that. But I’ll also be forever thankful that I met the love of my life before the social media craze happened. Otherwise, our love story would be much different and maybe less romantic than it was.

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