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21 Times People Used The Internet Before It Was Invented

Ever feel like the Internet has been around forever? Turns out you were right.

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1. Over 400 years before Facebook, German college students had a social network called the Book of Friends.

Koninklijke Bibliotheek / Via kb.nl

Each time you met someone, you'd request to add them to your book – along with any random advice, quotes or pics they wanted to share.

3. These English aristocrats were sexting each other 250 years before Snapchat.

Wikipedia; Barton Galleries / Via en.wikipedia.org bartongalleries.com

Lady Grosvenor and her bae wrote their love letters in invisible ink, with strict instructions to burn after reading. It didn't work – the letters were intercepted and published, causing a huge scandal.

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5. People were totally obsessed with GIFs in the 19th century.

Check out more of these phenakistocopes – an early animation technique – in the Richard Balzer Collection.

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11. This guy was sending nasty tweets long before Twitter.

Via home.scarlet.be

The Roman poet Martial loved writing obscene insults in 140 characters or less. Like this one, about somebody with bad breath: “Your puppy licks your mouth and lips, Manneia. I'm not surprised, dogs love eating shit." (Epigrams, 1.83)

14. Tourists were giving hilariously bad reviews to everything long before Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Via en.wikipedia.org

Murray's Hand-Book was an early travel guide renowned for its harsh critiques of hotels, tourist attractions and even churches ("Ugly spire", said one review.)

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16. Norwegians were carving secrets onto these sticks 800 years before Yik Yak and Whisper.

Via whereoldgodsrule.com

The rune sticks were used to record all kinds of messages – including confessions of secret crushes, as new media researcher Kathi Berens explains.

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20. 700 years before Google, philosopher Ramon Llull invented a gadget for finding the answer to almost anything.

Via she-philosopher.com

By rotating the three paper wheels, you'd supposedly gain access to all possible truths in your area of interest.

21. And Japanese author Sei Shonagon was writing listicles 1000 years before BuzzFeed.

Via christywampole.com

Her famous Pillow Book includes 164 lists, such as "Things That Make One's Heart Beat Faster", "Things That Are Unpleasant To Hear" and "Things That Should Be Short".