If you comb through the Google Internet Cache—the Roman ruins of the 21st Century— you might stumble across long-abandoned GeoCities pages, lost Usenet postings, and other defunct websites. Over a decade after they were first created, some of your co-workers’ instant-message handles probably still channel the zeitgeist of junior high school. Dig into that forgotten desk drawer and you’ll find dozens of America Online CD’s stashed alongside floppy disks, joysticks, and tape drives.
Web 2.0 long since came and conquered. Billions of AOL CD’s now sit in landfills, Geocities is offline, and no one has used a floppy disc in years. But in the mid-90’s, when I came of age, the Internet was more a curiosity than a necessity. Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia didn’t exist, and the so-called information superhighway was mostly empty promise. It was the Internet’s Age of Innocence.