A viral photo of a classic home computer setup from the early 2000s has sparked a wave of nostalgia from millennials.
The photo shows the quintessential computer station at the beginning of the millennium complete with an enormous box-like monitor, bulky CD-ROM hard drive, printer, speakers with small twiddly knobs, cd rack filled with computer disks, zip drives, and floppy disks.
Some of those words will mean nothing to younger readers but these items were once ubiquitous across homes in the Western world. Teenagers would log in to chat with their friends on MSN Messenger as parents discovered the world of word processing.
The picture of the setup struck a chord as it received 17.4 million views and hundreds of comments on the platfrom formerly known as Twitter.
It was posted with the caption: “There was a time when we respected the computer.” It is difficult to fathom now but in the early 2000s, the internet was confined to a single space rather than being omnipresent as it is in the 2020s.
There was a time when we respected the computer pic.twitter.com/seJcPZV8RW
— Dexter (@planet_nerf) December 19, 2023
As one Redditor puts it: “That’s a gaming desk, student desk, Dad paying bills desk…..the whole family is getting in on that one.”
Another X user retweeted the original post where they expressed the sentiment and fond memories that many share. “Sorry for being nostalgia-baited but it was kind of nice where the internet was a single, solitary, unmoving place instead of a terror that extends to everywhere. you went to this specific spot to go to the internet. when you left the spot, you left the internet. it was a place.” The post got nearly 12 million views.
sorry for being nostalgia baited but it was kind of nice where the internet was a single, solitary, unmoving place instead of a terror that extends to everywhere. you went to this specific spot to go to the internet. when you left the spot, you left the internet. it was a place https://t.co/CykSmj3qlw
— cal50 (@cal50) December 20, 2023
Commenting beneath the post, users likened going on the internet as a “big event” calling it a “special space.” Others pined for the days when didn’t have to be “available to everyone 24/7”.
In the early 2000s, most people would use internet dial-up connections (which meant cutting access to the home telephone — yes, they were a thing back then too).
It meant that being on the internet was a deliberate act with a beginning and an end — unlike today when people simply put their hand in their pocket and pluck out a constantly connected device.
A TikTok user called somefrogs.co commenting on the viral photo pondered, “As much as the internet has brought such amazing things to so many people, I definitely think that there is room for conversation on this idea of not having to be on it all the time.”
@somefrogs.co Are you nostalgic for when we were less connected? #internet #oldcomputer #twitter #x #computerdesk #nostalgia #internetnostalgia #disconnect #places #digitalfootprint ♬ original sound – some frogs
Users were writing they felt sorry for younger people who never knew a world that wasn’t constantly online; others talked about having a “digital detox.”
But anyone who had a computer setup like the one in the photo will remember how painfully slow dial-up internet was and how rudimentary the overall design of websites and apps were back then.
As Business Insider notes, it is easy to look back through rose-tinted glasses.