Monday, September 16, 2019

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

Communication in the 90s

As a fan of the '90s, you can't deny that social media has become a great help— reconnecting to everyone, keeping us updated daily with what's happening to our loved ones, and most importantly, making communication more accessible than ever.

Here are some throwbacks to how we communicated during the '90s.

No Smartphones Yet


I remember the times before Friendster became a thing. We didn’t have smartphones yet; we only had 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 a smartphone. Even my favorite fish vendor in our public market uses 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 ten years ago, dial-up internet connection was a thing. It was prepaid, so we had to buy prepaid cards to load 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) to check if we had new messages on Friendster.

Bye-Bye Landline Phones?


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 most of their customers don’t have landlines, anyway).

More than 20 years ago, having a landline at home was a must. Only well-off business people and professionals had mobile phones or pagers. I remember when we were in Grade school, “telebabad” and “party line” were a thing. When PLDT released 3-way calling, call-waiting, and caller ids, I pressured my mom to avail those features 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 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 many letters from people, especially every Valentine's Day. The most creative one would win a spot inside my customized shoe box.

Responding to a love letter would send the man an unspoken message that he could take the next step in courting the girl. If a girl didn't respond, that would be the equivalent of today's "seen zoning." 

Now, courting has already become digital. A suitor's effort today is measured by how often he would engage with her or even flaunt her via social media.

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, the internet and social media made communication more accessible and closer to everyone - 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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