For something so simple, the Facebook Poke really did cross over into pop culture. Everyone knows what poking is. You probably poked a few people yourself and had them poke you back. It served no purpose beyond “Hey, I poked you! XD” Imagine a silent, slightly less annoying version of the MSN nudge button. In 2011, however, the Facebook Poke was quietly retired for the benefit of humankind.
SmarterChild meant well. Born in 2000, it was a bot designed to aid with basic questions that you might have for homework or your personal life. But in the days when the internet wasn’t an extension of everyday life and merely treated like a weird game (and without any real-life repercussions), SmarterChild was often inundated with abuse and unanswerable questions, in the naive hope that he would be radicalised into a vengeful sentient being.
Watching Flash Animations
Bizarre, anti-humour is the norm these days, but in the late 90s and early 2000s, it was a rebellious affront to respectable, grown-up humour. For thousands of kids, the Badger song was a rallying cry. The content consisted of twelve badgers and a few mushrooms dancing around in a countryside landscape. That’s all it took.
Pwned. Roflcopter. Noob. Three examples of words you couldn’t escape at one time on the internet that have since fallen out of favour. Some, such as lmao, have stood the test of time. BRB is perhaps the biggest loss, however. To tell someone that you were going to be right back, in the current climate of being Extremely Online and never truly away from a screen, seems archaic.
Watching The Hitler Meme
The “Downfall” meme or “Hitler reacts to…” was a series of online parodies of a bunker scene from a 2004 German film where Hitler learns that the war is lost. Frothing at the mouth, the Fuhrer labels his soldiers cowards, traitors and failures. To everyone on the internet (whose grasp of German was generally lacking) he was complaining about whatever news topic was hot at the time, no matter how silly.
Playing The Scary Maze Game
Jump scare videos are hard to fall for today, but in the early innocent years of the internet, you had to be extremely savvy to avoid one. The most famous example was the Scary Maze Game, which became a phenomenon for its climactic jump scare featuring the face of Linda Blair from The Exorcist. Equally popular were videos of people reacting (which is to say: screaming) to the game.
Selecting Your MySpace Top 8
MySpace, for its relatively wholesome, honest intentions – especially compared to the data breaching, crooked likes of Facebook – did encourage beef between friends with its Top 8 feature. ICYMI, any MySpace profile would have a Top 8 section in which the user would list and curate their best friends. Reasons for excluding someone from your list could just be because there was no more room or for deliberately petty reasons. Usually the latter. Sparks would fly.
Forwarding Email Chains
Picture the scene. The year is 2003. You sign into your email account. Highlighted in the inbox is a message reading something along the lines of: “If you don’t send this email to ten of your friends an old, decayed woman will appear at the foot of your bed and tickle your feet at the stroke of midnight.” What are you gonna do, chance it? No way. That email is going straight to your nearest and dearest.
Writing Weirdly For No Reason
If you had MSN in the early to mid-2000s you couldn’t just have “Josh” as your name. You had to have “JⓄsh •·.·´¯`·.·• .·´¯`·.><((((º> aLcOhOl iSnT tHe AnSwEr BuT iT MaKeS U 4gEt D qUeStiOn”. Now, this was before the modern interpretation of lower-case + upper-case lettering as code for sarcasm helped by the 2016 SpongeBob meme. Back then, it was simply an expression of eccentricity.
Hard as it may be to believe, one day, your grandchildren will tug you by the shirt and ask, “Why are there hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of you with a thermal heat map filter?” Right before the explosion of Instagram, the done thing was to take photos on the Mac app Photobooth. Go back to any profile picture of any millennial Facebook account. Any picture posted between 2007 and 2010 will be some quirky result of Photobooth and its (at the time) groundbreaking filter effects.