Internet services then vs. now

Awhile back I pondered on Twitter what Internet services I used earlier in my Internet days and now. With sites closing or getting bought out (and then closing down) left and right, it’s worth taking a look at what you use and considering whether it’s going to be around in ten years. But it turns out that ten years is a really long time, and the last ten years in particular transformed the Internet as we see it now. Here’s my then vs. now list.

I’ve included sites I use(d) semiregularly. Just having an account there doesn’t cut it.

Italics are on both lists
* on the 2003 list means it has since shut down
** on the 2013 list means it didn’t exist in 2003

Then (2003)
Diaryland (Kind of amazed this still exists, to be honest)
AIM
Yahoo! Mail
Hotmail
NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriYe (not closed exactly, but changed hands several times since I did it)
iMood (one of those mood display things)
Those weather pixie things. Are they still around?
Ranchoweb (haven’t shut down but pivoted)
Google
Internet Explorer
I honestly can’t think of too much here. I mostly updated my blog, hung out on the NaNo forums, and took lots of online quizzes back then. Oh, and chatted with people on AIM.

Now (2013)
WordPress
Twitter **
NaNoWriMo
Trovebox
NearlyFreeSpeech
Gmail **
Google Talk **
Facebook (Okay, I have an account, but that’s about it) **
LiveJournal (Okay, I use it to read friends’ locked journals)
Last.fm
Pandora **
Grooveshark **
Spotify **
Youtube
Reddit **
Google
GoodSearch **
Wikiwrimo (okay, I created this)
A host of other Google products (Analytics, Calendar, Drive, … but not Reader. RIP Reader.)
Commafeed **
Firefox
Chromium **

Some of the Twitter replies I got regarding sites they’ve used for the past ten years include DeviantArt, Fanfiction.net, Harry Potter Fanfiction, a few folks with personal websites (even with multiple webhosts, this shows exactly why setting up a personal space you control is important), and the grand prize: one person on the same Telnet board for twenty years. Now that’s impressive.

The most obvious thing from mine: my list now is a lot longer than the list in 2003, which says a lot about how our lives are more online now than ten years ago. And this doesn’t include the other software in my computer or in my phone, which is worth nothing since I shared a cell phone with my brother around that time and didn’t get my own phone and number until 2005. (That number is still the same, by the way.)

The other big thing I noticed is that neither of these lists contains services I’ve used during those ten years and then stopped using, whether because they shut down or because I lost interest. That list will show up in a separate post since it’ll be very long.

What will this list look like in ten more years, or five, or two, or next year? I don’t know. But I am confident that my attempts to decentralize my data will result in less disappointment upon losing interest in a service.

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