8 Nostalgic Things Gen Z Probably Won’t Recognize
Nov 6, 2023   •   Kyzia Maramara
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Nov 6, 2023   •   Kyzia Maramara
What was life like 20 years ago, before Gen Zs were born? It’s a lot different than the life we’re living now, that’s for sure. Instead of the fast internet connection we’re so used to waking up to, there was limited dial-up internet you couldn’t even use simultaneously with a telephone. Before Spotify let us pick any song in the world with a few taps, people had to “burn” a CD just to replay the songs they loved. Will Gen Zs understand or even recognize these 8 things that existed before their time?
Can old rotary phones like this still work? I recently bought bought this from a goodwill, and there’s only a four prong power cord but no type of slots for any other cables, so I’m curious
These days, the only chance Gen Z will encounter a rotary phone is if they visit a retro aesthetic cafe. Back in the 1890s, the rotary phone was the earliest type of user-controlled phone that allowed you to call anyone. Before that, people had to wait for an operator to redirect their call. When the push button dial was introduced in the 1970s, rotary phones were slowly phased out.
You’re probably reading this article on your smartphone connected to your Wi-Fi or mobile data. That’s the bliss and ease of connectivity folks two decades ago could only dream of. Before 8080 promos, there was the prepaid dial-up internet which was slow AF and couldn’t be used simultaneously with the telephone. If you’re old enough to experience that era, this sound might be ingrained in your brain.
Later, they introduced broadband sticks like the Globe Tattoo which were a little bit faster but still delivered unreliable internet speed. So if Gen Zs are throwing tantrums about their Wi-Fi averaging 48 Mbps, try 54 Kbps with dial-up internet and we’ll see who’s had it worse.
The trend with smartphones these days is which company can produce the slimmest, lightest one. Decades ago, our parents were amazed with the thickest, heaviest phones you could ever imagine. And when the 2000s rolled along, phones became a lot more portable. Gen Zs could probably recognize the legendary Nokia 3310 but only because millennials have been vocal about their nostalgia over it.
@warrendanielosinagaNo_Air_Chris_Brown_ft_Jordin_Sparks_MP3♬ No Air (feat. Chris Brown) – Jordin Sparks
Here’s a challenge for Gen Zs, picture this: You go to a computer shop and you ask them to “burn” a CD for you. Php 50 for 18 songs, the ones you hear on the radio and you’d like to listen to anytime. Burning CDs was the OG mixtape and your parents and older siblings probably had to go through this rite of passage before Spotify was invented. If someone was well off, they usually owned a cassette collection and carried around an MP3 player.
Gen Z might have the funniest email sign-offs but we bet they’ve never used a fax machine to write an email. This popular machine was the OG email in the 1990s. How does it work? The sender scans the original document which is then converted into a digital signal and sent to the receiver’s fax machine which decodes the message and prints it out. Replying to an email on your iPhone while lying in bed sounds like much less work.
Yes, kids, the “Save” icon lived a full life in the real world before it was digitized and confined inside your gadgets. It was called a floppy disk and it was invented in 1967. Floppy disks could store a whopping 80 KB up to 1.44 MB of data (wow!) which was already impressive then. When the mid-2000s ushered in the age of high-resolution media and larger files, floppy disks were discontinued and replaced with external drives, USBs, and cloud services.
Teachers used to lug around heavy overhead projectors before PowerPoint presentations, Google Slides, and mini portable projectors were invented. Also called slide projectors, these chunky machines use acetate sheets with either hand-drawn or printed information to project images. The light from the glass plate reflects on the mirror and lens above which then projects the image onto a plain wall. It was too many steps and we’re better off with what we have now.
Nowadays, when Gen Zs want to look up a person or a company, their knee-jerk reaction is to type the name on Google, Facebook, or Instagram. But two decades ago, folks still had to bust out the thick and heavy Yellow Pages and dig up the info. The Yellow Pages are pretty cool if you think about it. Have a crush on someone? If they’ve got a landline phone, chances are you could look up their family name on the Yellow Pages and give them a call if you’re brave enough.
Do you know other things Gen Z won’t recognize? Share it with us in the comments!
Kyzia spends most of her time capturing the world around her through photos, paragraphs, and playlists. She is constantly on the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and a great paperback thriller to pair with it.
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