Table of Contents
Do you remember the 80s? If so, you probably remember social media in a very different way than today. Social media was all about communicating with friends and family back then. To stay connected, you would use tools like mailing lists, discussion boards, and chat rooms. This blog post will look at how to use social media in the 80s and some of the popular platforms used back then. We’ll also discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of using social media in that era. So if you’re interested in reliving the good old days or learning more about social media in the 80s, keep reading!
The complete history of social media in the 80s you didn’t know about
The social media landscape in the 80s was very different from today. Back then, most people only interacted with friends and family face-to-face. The only way to meet with friends was to visit their location and chat with them in person physically. This often happens before an event, such as a sports game or movie. Afterward, people would chat about the event and share their thoughts. MTV was a big deal in the 80s, as it brought music and celebrity culture into people’s homes in a new way. Social media wasn’t a thing back then, so kids had to go outside and interact with others if they wanted to socialize. Nowadays, it’s normal to spend an entire evening talking to friends online, which would have been unheard of in the 80s.
2. Phones 1946
In the 80s, many young teenagers used a house phone to talk to their friends, a form of social media in the 80s. If they wanted to socialize with someone, they would have to pick up the house phone and call them. Since there weren’t social media, they would usually talk about things that happened at school or were going on in their lives. If they wanted to meet up with someone, you would have to tell them the exact time spot you would be at, and then you would wait there, hoping they would arrive. A cellphone was available, but most wealthy people had access to it. One of the first cellphone model invites was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X which came out in 1983. It cost $3995 and was large and heavy; if you were to see this phone today, you would not be excited to receive it. Nowadays, social media is a big part of our lives. We use it to communicate with our friends and family, share pictures and experiences, and stay up-to-date on what’s happening worldwide. It’s hard to imagine life without social media, but that’s how 80s baby grew up.
3. Local radio stations 1920
If you were a teenager in the 80s, chances are good that you spent a lot of time listening to local radio stations. There were a few big players in the game, but many smaller stations dotted the landscape. This was before social media, so these stations were often the only way to find out about new music and events happening in your area. Listening to the radio was a social activity in itself. You would call into request songs, dedications, and shout-outs. Or you would listen to the DJs banter back and forth and get a sense of their personality. It was common to develop crushes on certain DJs or have a favorite you looked up to. Local radio stations in the 80s were essential to many people’s lives. Today, radio might not seem as crucial with social media and streaming services. But for those who grew up in the 80s, local radio stations will always hold a special place in our hearts.
4. Pen Pals 1930
Getting a pen pal in the 1980s was a popular way to socialize with people worldwide. Pen pals would exchange letters and often gifts or photographs and usually confided in each other. Many schools had connections with foreign schools that could help students find pen pals, and some clubs and organizations were advertised in kids’ magazines. Language students often used pen pals to practice writing in a foreign language. This was also a way to learn more about people from different counties and get more information about their cultures. Pen pal in the 80s was social media.
5. Faxing 1964
Faxing was one of the popular methods of communication in those days. It allowed people to send documents quickly without having to meet in person. The first fax machine was invented in 1843 by Scottish inventor Alexander Bain. However, it wasn’t until 1964 that the first commercial fax machine was introduced. In the 80s, fax machines were used in businesses to send documents between offices. However, individuals also used them to send letters and cards to friends and family. The 80s was a time before email and instant messaging, so faxing was the closest thing we had to those technologies. The 80s were a simpler time, and social media reflected that. There were no likes, shares, or comments. People didn’t use social media to show off their lives or bragging rights. It was simply a way to stay connected with friends and family.
6. Talkmatic 1973
Talkmatic was one of the first social media platforms. It was created in 1973 and allowed people to make calls and send messages to other Talkmatic users. The service was popular in the 80s before cell phones were common. Talkmatic had many features that are similar to today’s social media platforms. For example, you could add friends to your contact list and see when they are online. You could also join groups and participate in discussions. However, Talkmatic didn’t last long. The company ceased operations in 1984 due to competition from other services.
7. CB Radio 1977
CB (Citizens Band) radios were popular in the late 70s and early 80s. Truckers used them to communicate with each other on the open road. However, CB radios soon gained popularity with regular people as well. People would use CB radios to talk to their friends, share news, and learn about events happening in their area. CB radios were a way for people to connect without using a phone. The 80s was a time before cell phones and social media, so CB radios filled that void. In the show Stranger Things, the characters use CB radios to communicate. This was a throwback to the 80s when CB radios were popular.
8. BBSes 1978
BBSes(Bulletin Board Systems) was one of the earliest forms of social media. They were created in 1978 as a way for people to share information. BBSes allowed users to post messages on a variety of topics. These messages were then distributed to all the users of the system. BBSes were very popular in the 80s but have since declined in popularity.
9. MUDs 1980
MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) were popular in the 80s, allowing people to play online text-based games. These games were similar to today’s MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games). MUDs were popular because they allowed people to socialize while playing a game. Many early MUDs were created in the 80s, and they laid the foundation for today’s online games.
10. CompuServe 1984
CompuServe was one of the first online services. It was created in 1969 as a way for scientists to share information. However, it wasn’t until 1984 that CompuServe opened its doors to the public. When it did, it became an instant success. People used CompuServe to chat with friends, play games, and shop online. CompuServe was one of the first companies to offer email and chat services. It also had several features that other online services would later adopt. For example, CompuServe was one of the first to offer user profiles and private messaging.
11. The Well 1985
The Well( Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) was one of the earliest online communities. It was created in 1985 by a group interested in discussing politics and current affairs. The Well quickly gained popularity, attracting some of the biggest technological names. For example, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Stewart Brand were all members of The Well. The community was known for its lively discussions and debates. It was also one of the first online communities to offer user profiles and private messaging. The Well laid the foundation for today’s social media platforms.
12. GEnie 1985
When Genie(General Electric Network for Information Exchange) first came on the scene in 1985, it was a game-changer for online bulletin board services. It was developed as a joint venture between GE and Ameritech and quickly acquired a loyal following of sci-fi fans, horror and fantasy writers, and general users. Its roundtable discussions, chat lines, games, and Internet access made it a popular destination for many early internet adopters. However, Genie’s traffic declined as other online services began to spring up. IDT eventually bought the struggling service in the mid-90s but could not turn things around. In 1999, they pulled the plug on Genie, much to the dismay of its many users. Although it’s now defunct, Genie played a vital role in the early days of online socializing.
13. America Online 1985
AOL was once the king of the internet. In the 1980s, AOL was the go-to service for anyone who wanted to get online. It was easy to use and had many features that made it the perfect way to surf the web. Today, AOL is still a great way to stay connected, but it has competition from other providers. AOL offers email, chat, and news services. It also has a large selection of games and a huge online community. AOL is the perfect way to stay connected with friends and family.
14. Prodigy 1984
It was created in 1984 as a way for IBM to offer email and chat services. In 1989, Prodigy(Prodigy Communications Corporation) expanded its services to include news, weather, sports, and stock quotes. Prodigy also had a large online community where users could chat and play games. However, unlike AOL, Prodigy did not have unlimited access. Users had to pay by the hour to use the service. Prodigy eventually switched to a flat-rate pricing model in 1994, but it was too late. The company was struggling to keep up with AOL and other providers. In 2001, Prodigy was sold to SBC Communications.
15. Usenet 1980
Usenet was created in 1980 as a way for people to share information. Initially designed for universities, it quickly gained popularity with the general public. Usenet allowed users to post messages on a variety of topics. These messages were then distributed to all the users of the system. Usenet was one of the first platforms to offer user-generated content. It was also one of the first to provide discussion forums. Usenet was very popular in the 80s and 90s but has since been forgotten.
16. FidoNet 1984
FidoNet was created in 1984 as a way for people to connect using bulletin board systems (BBSes). It was one of the first networks to offer email and chat services. FidoNet also had a large online community where users could chat and play games. However, unlike AOL, FidoNet did not have unlimited access. Users had to pay by the hour to use the service. FidoNet eventually switched to a flat-rate pricing model in 1994, but it was too late. The company was struggling to keep up with AOL and other providers. In 2001, FidoNet was sold to SBC Communications.
17. CB Simulator 1985
CB Simulator was one of the first online games. It was created in 1985 and allowed users to chat and play games with each other.
18. IRC 1988
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was one of the first chat systems developed for instant messaging. It launched in the 1980s and revolutionized communication at the time. Today, it remains a popular chat system used by millions of people around the world. IRC is designed for group communication in discussion forums called channels. However, it also allows for private messages and data transfer between users. This makes it a versatile chat system that can be used for various purposes. One of the great things about IRC is that it’s available as a web app, standalone desktop program, or even embedded into other programs. This makes it accessible to everyone, regardless of their preferred platform.
Social media has come a long way since the 80s. Initially, it was all about staying connected with friends and family. Today, it’s used for much more. Whether you’re looking to keep in touch with loved ones or connect with like-minded people, there’s a social media platform. While some platforms have come and gone, others have stood the test. So whatever your needs, a social media platform can help you stay connected.