Let me start off by saying that I’m not saying that I’m old in this blog. Of course, this is a recurring theme in all kinds of blogs – stuff that we knew when we were young. I know this, you know this: things change as time does. And bizarrely, I’m pretty sure it’s my generation who is the most vocal about it. Everyone gets nostalgic, and everyone flips out when they see a kid on YouTube with bewildered eyes as they figure out a Motorola Razr. And I can basically hear your mind when you see someone listening to music on their smartphone and think “dang kid doesn’t have to worry about their cd walkman skipping”.
This is just a mere examination.
I was cleaning my room. In a certain area of my desk, I’ve stored my old HP tower with Windows 7 (which has blue-screened), a ton of CDs and old electronics. Normally, I pay no mind to any of this and wipe it down with a rag but this time around, I was a lot more active in going through them. I realized that most of these CDs (stuff like printer/camera software and games like Oregon Trail for Windows 2000) will probably never be used again. So digging around, I pulled out the 1st generation iPod nano I bought for myself when I was a tween. I got into a conversation with a colleague and after discovering its battery is still good, he asked me what the oldest song in my iTunes library is. That got me thinking about what it was like for me 10 years ago. So let’s talk about it.
Back when being on the internet only meant you had access to a computer. Popularity was measured by the number of people who ‘owned’ your profile picture and bands you listened to that no one else did not by the number of retweets or hashtags you jumped on. The internet was all about being the most tragically poetic and emphasizing how extraordinarily different you were, not how viral your selfie could get in two days.
At this point, xanga was still relevant. Most of my friends can say they’ve had one at some point. At the time, I was creating css for xanga and graphics on Jasc software. Customization was trending so people were changing their layouts every couple of weeks, and a number of them included an animated cursor or a title bar that looked *~xX Sumting LyK diS xXxoOo~*. When people began transitioning to Myspace, CSS-creators followed the train making a new formula for the new format. Sometimes people went overboard and going to their page was an actual nuisance but it was actually a thing to go to someone’s MySpace just to see what it looked like: “omgeeee, ur page is 2 kyoot!!! wer did u get ur lyt?? ^_^”.
4 words: Five Hour Phone Calls. With as many people as you could possibly get, as long as everyone had 3-way calling. I remember one night, we made it to like 8 people before people started getting disconnected. SMS was the optimal way to communicate with someone on the go….if the message even got through…if you had load. But it was k cause we didn’t necessarily expect a reply within the hour. …plus you were probably using your mom’s phone to text anyway.
Trying to fit in as many songs as you could into a disc that only holds a couple hundred MB. When you only had an iTuned library if you had an iPod…which held 1GB of music. And if you REALLY had to send someone something electronically, email and IM was your gurl. Or if you were really cool (and within 100 feet of someone), bluetooth messaging.
Quick mention of me in high school checking to see if anyone had their bluetooth on so I could send them weird pictures. But I changed my bluetooth name, for anonymity of course.
But of course, this was also the height of downloading so you spent the night probably trying to see if your favorite songs could be downloaded via P2P or someone’s xanga. Or even if the whole album could be found via torrent. All the while making sure that the file wasn’t a virus. Sometimes, though you would download a song and it turned out not to be that song but on the other hand, you discovered someone you could be elitist about. Did I mention that we might be responsible for music not being on MTV anymore? Disclaimer: I’m pretty sure this is not nearly as prevalent now as it was then. Illegal downloading is wrong, yo….although Streetlight Manifesto kinda encouraged it to get back at their label.
Music. Culture. Trends.
I’m squeezing this together because these are all essentially the same thing. I remember specifically coming of age when more was more…clothing style-wise. Quick mention of fringe bangs and raccoon eyes aside…the general style was sleeves, hoodies, ties, gloves, beanies, bracelets, jeans, long socks if you weren’t wearing jeans, and black. Lots. And lots of black. It was a poetic expression of the amount of layers you had to get through in order to really understand the destroyed soul that lingered underneath.
And all of this was influenced by the people we were seeing in the music videos on MTV and TRL (which would still be a thing for a couple more years). Simple Plan. Hawthorne Heights. AFI. Avril Lavigne (pre Best Damn Thing). Fall Out Boy. Taking Back Sunday. Panic! At the Disco. All Time Low. Paramore. My Chemical Romance. Or really anyone who’s screaming the words we keep bottled up for the purpose of angst. Get acquainted with this wonderfully nostalgic playlist.
A time one might refer to as the Millennial Emo era.
Again, the reason for this little rambling blog is not to put down the kids who entered high school after I had graduated. Or to invalidate their experiences or say that ours was better or more authentic (though I might appreciate my tween/teenhood better than I do theirs). It’s meant to be (a throwback and) a commentary on how different it was, looking back. How much can change in five years. My little sister, who is only 4 years younger than me, rang in her teen years to such vastly different music, trends, different methods of communication. Adversely, my oldest sibling (4 years older than me) and I did not.
And it makes me really wonder how much is going to change. And it makes me even wonder more what the actual name of the era of my adolescent years will be called in 40-50-100 years from now.
What I do know is that I’m going to hold on to that 1st generation, 2gb iPod nano until it becomes so old that I’ll be able to sell to to some hipster on eBay for good money. Assuming that hipsters and eBay will still be relevant then, anyway.