A Throwback to Dial-Up

Oh, the internet. More specifically, oh, dial-up. When I was young, the only internet I knew up until the age of 15 was dial-up. My parents jumped on that bandwagon to sign up for America Online, and quite possibly rode for too long. By the time internet was getting faster and lived outside the bounds of America Online, my house still lived in Dial-Up world.

I remember waiting about 7 minutes for our Dell desktop to wake-up and then waiting another 10 minutes while Dial-Up did its thing. The sounds that would come out of the computer while AOL “dialed-up” will forever be imprinted in my memory.  Once I was logged in, I would visit the Disney Channel website and play ALL the games they had; varying from The Lizzie Mcguire Show, Even Stevens, to Kim Possible. If I was on these websites, I had to set aside a good hour of my afternoon to get adequate play time. Also had make sure my younger sister didn’t see me playing because she would sure demand a long turn, as well.

As I got older, I tried out AIM. Picking those emoji’s, backgrounds, fonts, colors, etc. seemed like making a statement of the century. Once everyone got back from school, you logged on hoping that crush would be on or hope your best friend would be there. So many vital middle school conversations occurred through this medium of communication.


My realm of understanding of the internet when I was younger existed within the bounds of America Online. I was sometimes hit by a whole other world when I would go onto friends’ computers whom had moved on from AOL. The simplicity of the internet when I was young often makes me nostalgic. One bone I have to pick with the internet today is the notion of privacy when it comes to messaging. Most modes of messaging on social media sites strip your senses of privacy and mystery. I do not care if the person I messaged has seen my message, nor do I care for them to see if I have seen theirs’. There was something to be desired with AIM. You sat by your computer waiting to see if your crush would respond to you. Of course you didn’t spend all day waiting, but there was a mystery or game behind it. Today, we have lost that.

Thoughts from Dana D’Onofrio

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One comment

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog post, mostly because I can highly relate to it. My family didn’t move on from the dial-up world for quite some time, and then finally my parents gave in and adjusted to the times. The Disney Channel site was my all-time favorite to visit and play games on too! Ohh, the good ole days. But you are right that now there is this problem of little to no privacy with the boom of the Internet and new media, in general. It’s a concern that must be addressed, especially since our right to privacy is a human right protected under the Constitution.

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