Share on Facebook

48 Things That Were Way Harder “Back in the Day”

Remember when you had to dial into the Internet or make a mixtape? These throwback hardships will have you nodding—and laughing—along.

conversationshutterstock (2)

Scoring a date

Back before the advent of dating websites, dating was so much harder, it’s a wonder people met at all (OK, maybe we’re exaggerating). But the thing was, to meet people, you’d actually have to leave your house—go to bars, go to parties, join clubs—or have friends generous enough to set you up with their friends. Or, maybe you’d peruse the personal ads, say, in the back of New York Magazine. The Internet changed all that. Match.com went live in 1995. In 1998, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan met cute in an Internet chat room in You’ve Got Mail. At the turn of the millennium, eHarmony launched to provide a platform for people looking for serious relationships, and it wasn’t long before all manner of dating sites began popping up all over the internet, offering something for everyone.

In 2007, the launch of smartphones enabled the launch of Zoosk, one of the first dating apps. Somewhat ironically, the mobility offered by dating apps enables users to leave their homes while still participating in online dating. Yet somehow, it seems that as dating apps have proliferated, people have even less need to go anywhere in order to find a date. 

loveshutterstock (2)

Hooking up

As far back as 2002, I have recollections of single friends talking about a website called Lavalife, which allowed you to search for a date, a relationship, or a hookup. Although the notion of “hooking up” began in the 1920s and became a cultural phenomenon in the 1960s (and a potential nightmare after Looking For Mister Goodbar), it was only with the advent of location- and swiping-based dating apps in 2012 that things really began to change. Tinder was the first to allow you to search for “matches” who were physically near you right this very minute. For those who are so inclined, hooking up became as easy as swiping right and arranging a time and place. 

wineshutterstock (2)

Getting the scoop on your date/hookup

Back in the day, hooking up with someone you met in a bar would entail going home with a complete stranger about whom you knew nothing. Nowadays, at least you can Google them, assuming they haven’t given you a fake name. If you match with them on Tinder, which requires a Facebook account to sign up, presumably they’re a “real person” with a Facebook page that you can stalk for at least five minutes before deciding whether to meet. Presumably. In reality, there’s no shortage of fake names and identities on Tinder and the like (and, apparently, on Facebook). Nevertheless, if you do ask for a name, Google can be your friend (and a friend those in prior generations never had).

When it comes to dating, your prospects for getting the dirt on your date are far better than they ever were back in the day. Before Internet search engines and background check websites such as Checkmate and BeenVerified, hopefully you met your dates through friends because you had to rely on word of mouth to learn anything about anyone. If not, you were pretty much out of information and out of luck. 

mapshutterstock (2)

Getting where you’re going without getting lost

I still have disturbing recollections of stopping in gas stations for directions and staring with glazed eyes as I tried to remember, “turn right at the light, and then two blocks down, make the third turn out of the traffic circle,” even as it all blurred into “blah blah blah.” If you were more organized back in the day, you had the presence of mind to get directions beforehand and carefully write them on a slip of paper. Still, you had to consult them while you were driving. Hello, distracted driving?

Nowadays, you almost definitely have some form of navigation system, whether it’s built into your car or a downloadable app like Waze, Google Maps, or any number of similar apps. Some of them even help you figure out which route has the least amount of traffic or tolls. Nowadays, you can even use them to figure out where you’re going on foot or on by bike. Getting lost is no longer an option, which means it’s no longer an excuse for being late.

timeshutterstock (2)

Getting away with being late

The thing about being late is that it’s really annoying to the people who are waiting for you. Back in the day, it was particularly excruciating in the absence of mobile phones, text messaging and the like. If you were on the road, and the traffic was bad, you couldn’t let anyone know. They’d just have to wait. And wait. Nowadays, the chronically late among us have a secret trick we used to take being late entirely off the table: we text you to let you know we’re “running late” (“running” late is different from “being” late) and when we will actually be there. When we arrive at the newly appointed time, we’re no longer late, at least according to us. Full disclosure: This only works when whoever is waiting for you is feeling generous.

friendsshutterstock (2)

Sounding like you know stuff

Back in the day, you came upon your knowledge the old-fashioned way: You read/listened/learned, and if you wanted to show off your shiny new knowledge, you had to commit it to memory so you could pull it up on the fly. Nowadays, you can look anything up online in a matter of seconds. As long as you’re not standing right next to the person you’re talking to, you can whip out your phone, Google whatever you want to sound like you know and convey it—without the person you’re talking to realizing there was even a pause in the conversation.

You can even make it seem as if you speak another language: just plug a word or phrase into one of those automatic translation websites, like Google Translate or Babelfish, et voila. Suddenly, you parle français or hablas español like a boss!

cafeshutterstock (2)

Ghosting

So, what about if your date’s been repeatedly late, or can tell you’ve been pulling your facts off of Wikipedia? If things aren’t going well, nowadays you can just disappear into the ether. It’s called ghosting, it’s really, really, really disturbing to anyone who is on the receiving end, and it wasn’t as easy to pull off back in the day.

See, back in the days before dating apps, we tended to date people we knew or traveled in the same circles with. Now, you can meet virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime. While it’s easy to find out if they’ve got a DUI or a domestic violence charge pending, it’s not so easy to find out if they have a tendency to disappear off the face of the planet after a couple of dates (or a couple of years). And the other side of the coin is that because you may have known exactly zero people in common and don’t frequent the same bars, restaurants, clubs, and social gatherings, it’s very easy to simply disappear off the face of the planet at any time. You simply never call, never text, never email, ever again. OK, we’ll admit we think it’s rude. But hey, we’re sticklers for etiquette. Check out these things that will probably be illegal in 50 years.

infidelityshutterstock (2)

Cheating

Maybe you’re past ghosting and onto a long-term relationship. Maybe you’re past the honeymoon phase and feel like exploring, but you don’t really feel like breaking up either. We’re not recommending it, but there’s always the option to cheat. Back in the day, cheating took quite a bit of effort. You had to find someone with whom you wanted to cheat, which might have involved the same sort of efforts as finding a date. But then the ante went up: you had to make sure the person you wanted to cheat with was either unaware that you were attached or willing to disregard it. Nowadays? Easy peasy. There’s an app for that. It’s called Ashley Madison, and that’s just one of many that eliminate these hurdles because presumably, anyone who’s on an app designed for cheating is both looking to cheat and on board with cheating. 

furnitureshutterstock (2)

Selling your stuff

So perhaps cheating wasn’t such a good idea after all. Perhaps you got caught. Or perhaps you realized it just wasn’t fair to be playing the field while your partner played by the rules. In any event, your break-up means you can finally get rid of that ugly sofa your girlfriend picked out for you. Back in the day, if you wanted to sell it, you’d have to take out an ad in the newspaper or put up flyers in the kitchen at your office. Nowadays, you’ve got options. You can advertise it on Facebook or Craigslist. You can auction it off on eBay. You can Google a charity that’s willing to pick up your used furniture. Also see if you have any of these valuable antiques that are worth a fortune.

STD-Testshutterstock (2)

Getting tested for STDs

If you’re back on the dating scene, or even if you’re just trying to stay ahead of the healthy curve, it’s never a bad time to think about getting tested for STDs. And there’s no reason not to since nowadays, it’s so very easy. Whereas back in the day, you had to actually go to a doctor’s office or a clinic, put on a paper gown, and answer a lot of uncomfortable questions face-to-face, these days, you can do it at home.

cellphoneshutterstock (2)

Taking selfies

Obviously, getting back to dating means pulling together some new and up-to-date photos of yourself. Back in the day, these were called “photos of yourself.” Nowadays, they’re called “selfies.” Back in the day, to get one good photo of yourself, you had to set your camera to automatic timer, or hold it at arms length, take a roll of film’s worth of shots, and hope for the best while waiting for them to be developed, which could take a minimum of an hour or as long as a month.

Nowadays, here’s how the process goes:

  • Take out your phone, which is probably out anyway
  • Hold out your arm (or a selfie-stick) and click.
  • Look at the screen.
  • Uh oh, were you doing that funny thing with your lip? Try again.
  • Repeat until you have a dozen or more selfies that make you look totally hot.
  • Look at clock and high-five yourself because only five minutes have gone by since you first decided to take a selfie.

retouchingshutterstock (2)

Making your photos look even better

Back in the day, you got your photos back from the FotoMat and that was that. However they turned out, you were stuck with them. Nowadays, you can eliminate red-eye with the click of a button, usually right on your smartphone. But that’s not all. You can smooth out your wrinkles. You can erase your acne scars. You can give yourself a more prominent chin or a friendlier smile. Just a few years back, these tricks were available only to those who knew how to use Photoshop. Nowadays, you’ve got your choice of photo-fixing apps. Or you can place a filter on your photos to make them more well-lit or more fuzzy around the edges.

Full disclosure: If you use altered photos on dating websites, then you’ve just made dating a little bit harder, both for yourself, and everyone else, than it was back in the day. 

camerashutterstock (2)

Photography in general

These days, anyone can be a photographer. They may not be any good, but they can certainly try because it’s way easier than it was back in the day. That’s what we learned from a New York photographer who’s been in the business since 2003. Back in the day, he explained, you needed rolls of film. And you needed different types of film, depending on the type of photo you were taking, and how much light you were using. Using the “flash” meant using a light bulb that you’d either attach to your camera or have someone else hold adjacent to your camera. Photos required time for film development, during which you had no idea how your finished product would turn out, whereas these days, you take a digital (film-free) imagine, which uploads immediate to a computer and can immediately be seen by anyone who needs to see it. There’s no need to change rolls of film. There’s no need for flash equipment. Of course, your photos will only be as good as your eye and your composition. Check out these vintage photos of life in the 1950s.

photo-albumshutterstock (2)

Showing off your photos

Back in the day, you either had stacks and stacks of photos, or you carefully placed them in acid-free photo albums, which resulted in many, many paper cuts, fingerprints all over your photos, and sticky stuff all over your fingers, not to mention clutter. Nowadays, your photos are digital, and your photo albums are online. If you want to keep them in a frame at home, you just need to print them out. Or maybe you don’t even need to print them out—if you have one of those digital frames that plays all of your photos in a loop. If you want people to see them, you can post them on social media or send them via email. Or you can admire them all in the palm of your hand on your smartphone.

cellphoneshutterstock (2)

Feigning interest in other peoples’ photos

Gone are the days of having to sit through actual slideshows of your buddy’s vacation in the Bahamas. Now your buddy just posts his photos on social media, and all you have to do is click “like.” 

VHSshutterstock (2)

Making and watching home movies

When many millennials were born, their parents bought big, clunky video cameras so they could capture every one of Junior’s impressive achievements (he sleeps! he smiles! he smiles again!). You could watch them right on a tiny screen, or you could plug them into your television. As for the parents of millennials, if their parents were able to capture such things in the form of moving pictures, it was with even bigger and clunkier movie cameras, using actual movie film. To watch these home movies, they would have to set up a projector, dim the lights and feed the film manually into the projector.

Nowadays, when your baby is born, you just take out your smartphone and set the camera app to video. You probably won’t upload it anywhere because you’ve got privacy concerns, which makes it easier for your friends, who won’t have to click “like.”

calendarshutterstock (2)

Remembering birthdays

Remember remembering birthdays? You don’t have to anymore, as long as you’re on Facebook, which alerts to you all your “friends'” birthdays. If you don’t check in all that often on Facebook, you can still have Facebook automatically add your friends’ birthdays to the calendar app on your smartphone. 

birthday-cakeshutterstock (2)

Saying “happy birthday”

Remember birthday cards? Yeah, they still sell them. And people buy them, but you don’t really have to anymore, what with e-mail, text, and social media. For that matter, you don’t really have to put any thought into your birthday wishes at all because most people are thrilled if you simply post “happy birthday” on their Facebook page. In fact, many are happy if you simply post “HBD.” And plenty are just fine if you wait until the next day’s inevitable “Thanks for all the birthday wishes”-post and then comment with, “Hope it was a great day!”

telephoneshutterstock (2)

Scoring points for calling on someone’s birthday

Back in the day, calling to wish someone a happy birthday was nice, but it didn’t compare to sending a card. Nowadays, making that call is going to portray you in a very positive light for the person whose birthday it is. Here are 10 words that immediately make you sound old.

calligraphyshutterstock (2)

Extending condolences

Back in the day, this involved a handwritten condolence note. The handwritten note would have to be mailed, and so you’d have to put in thought not only as to what to say in the note but how to address the envelope. This involved not only hauling out your address book but considering the rules of etiquette. Nowadays, you can post on the bereaved’s Facebook page, and the standards of etiquette are fairly relaxed. You can say anything from “I’m truly saddened to hear of your loved’ one’s passing and extend my sincerest condolences” to “OMG, so so sorry to hear.”

lost-pet-signshutterstock (2)

Locating your lost dog

Back in the day, if your dog went on the run, he’d potentially have a significant head start before you even realized he was missing. Then you’d have to find the phone number for Animal Control, if your town had such a department. If not, you’d have to call around to the police and local veterinarians. In any event, you’d have to hope that someone found him and brought him in to either the police or a local veterinarian.

Nowadays, many dogs are microchipped. Or your dog might be found and returned to you before you even realize he’s lost, thanks to the power of social media and e-communication. I know this first-hand because earlier this summer, my hapless hound, Lewis the Beagle, discovered a hole in my fence. Before I even realized he was gone, I’d received a text from someone who had seen a photo of Lewis on the Facebook page where many of the local moms scroll and post. 

college-applicationshutterstock (2)

Applying to college

Back in the day, this was a grueling task that involved typing up applications, including the essays, and sending them by mail to the various admissions offices. Nowadays, it’s quite a bit easier because applications are completed online and often using a single application common to all colleges to which you’re applying (it’s called, unsurprisingly, the “Common Application”). 

job-applicationshutterstock (2)

Applying for jobs

Applying for a job used to mean typing up a cover letter, attaching a copy of your resume, and placing it in the mail to a faceless director of hiring. These days, applying for jobs is much easier and can feel more personal. Joanna Ruiz, a 25-year veteran of the advertising industry has seen the system for getting and changing jobs change “from headhunting/executive search to LinkedIn and literally linking in with whom you know.” There’s no practical limit to how many people you can connect with on LinkedIn, she adds, or how many jobs you can apply to via LinkedIn, GlassDoor, ExecuNet, Indeed, and the like. These platforms streamline the process by allowing you to keep your resume and cover letter uploaded and ready to go. Check out these cool jobs you could have in the future.

handshakeshutterstock (2)

Getting the scoop on an applicant

Let’s say you personalize your cover letter, and even tailor your resume for the precise job you want before you send it to that LinkedIn connection who you learned is looking to hire. Ruiz says that it’s now far easier for hiring executives to get the scoop on a potential applicant before even scheduling an interview. “Let’s say you’re a hiring executive, and you think an applicant seems interested and is interesting,” Ruiz tells Reader’s Digest, “That’s when you’re going to do some delving into their online presence, and it’s really easy nowadays to discover some harsh truths about an applicant just by looking at their social media pages.” If your Instagram account reveals that your most constant companion is a cocktail, for example, you’re going to be easy for the hiring executive to bypass.

microphoneshutterstock (2)

Buying things you’ve seen on TV

In the past, you had to write down a phone number, call (immediately, or so they told you) the phone number, speak to a customer service representative, and arrange for payment. Nowadays, you can find most of these items on Amazon, or you can buy them in person at the As Seen on TV store (or you can order them from the As Seen on TV website). Here are 8 cheap things to buy now that could be worth a fortune later.

butchershutterstock (2)

Buying groceries

It wasn’t all that long ago that buying groceries involved a trip to the supermarket. Before supermarkets became ubiquitous, women (it was almost always women back then) would have to stop at the butcher, the fish man, the bakery, and the dairy to stock up her icebox and breadbox. These days, you can do all of that if you want, but you certainly don’t have to anymore. Nowadays, you can order all your groceries online.

sushishutterstock (2)

Trying global foods

Show us a millennial, and we’ll show you someone who most likely tried sushi before they were five years old. And nowadays, you can buy sushi at the Stop & Shop. Back in the day, however, the only way you had access to sushi was if you’d traveled to Japan. Back then, you could probably pretty easily find a local Italian or Chinese restaurant, but it was far more rare to find an Indian or an Ethiopian place. You probably never heard of pho back then, or palaak paneer. Nowadays, all manner of ethnic restaurants can be found everywhere. Ethnic food is widely available at the supermarket in the prepared- and frozen-foods sections, and depending on where you live, you are likely to find ethnic ingredients throughout the supermarket aisles.

bbqshutterstock (2)

Grilling

Once upon a time, grilling meant preparing a big ol’ pile of charcoal, dousing it with lighter fluid, and stepping back and hoping you didn’t singe your eyebrows when the match you tossed in made it all go up in flames. Then you had to wait…and wait…for the flames to go down and the charcoal to become white hot. Then if you wanted grill marks on your meat, you had to heat up the actual metal grill for another 15 minutes or so. Nowadays, gas grills are ubiquitous. They go from zero to 600 degrees in a matter of minutes, and don’t emit billowing black smoke or threaten to singe your hair when you light them. These days, it’s arguably just as easy to grill your food as it is to cook it in the oven.

microwaveshutterstock (2)

Reheating leftovers

Once upon a time, warmed-over leftovers required pre-heating the oven and then waiting for your food to heat all the way through. It could easily be an hour before you were eating supper. Nowadays, you just pop it in the microwave. Within minutes, your meal is on the table. See if you can guess what these antique objects were used for.

popcornshutterstock (2)

Making popcorn

Back in the day, making popcorn involved heating up oil in a big pot, throwing in a big handful of corn kernels, waiting to hear the popping and hoping you could pull it off the stove before the freshly popped corn turned to char (stinking up your kitchen for days). Now, it’s easier to make popcorn than it is to make leftovers. You simply pop it in the microwave, and within a matter of minutes, you’re reading to watch a “movie on demand.”

VHSshutterstock (2)

Movies on demand

Remember going to Blockbuster to rent movies? If you do, you’re as old as we are. If you don’t, then you have no idea how lucky you are to have access to every movie Blockbuster had, plus hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, more. And you never have to leave your house. Ever. Check out these 10 obsolete inventions people thought would last forever.

passportshutterstock (2)

Making travel reservations

Of course, we don’t recommend never leaving your house. In fact, we highly recommend that you travel wherever you can, wherever you can. Back in the day, your best bet for making travel arrangements was to go in person to your travel agent. Next best was to call your travel agent. Third best was to call around to all the airlines to try to find a flight that worked for you, both in terms of cost and convenience. For your hotel, same deal. Nowadays, you can do it all, plus rent a car, on a single travel website such as Expedia or Travelocity. 

car-dealershutterstock (2)

Buying a car

Buying a car back in the day was even more labor-intensive than making travel reservations because generally speaking, there was no such thing as the automobile-equivalent of a travel-agent. Nowadays, the Internet has all the information you could ever want about any car you might be interested in buying. Then it’s just a matter of haggling with the dealership. Sorry, but the Internet can’t do that for you. 

carsshutterstock (2)

Finding your car

“Dude, where’s my car?” Ashton Kutcher famously asked in the movie of the same name. That wasn’t all that long ago, but these days, if you’re looking for your car, you can probably press the little button on your keyless remote, which will make your headlights and taillights flash on and off. Problem solved. Check out these 13 predictions about the future that were dead wrong.

car-keysshutterstock (2)

Keyless remote

Keyless remote? Did we just say that like it was no big deal? Well, it’s a totally big deal because back in the day, your car required a an actual key to turn on the ignition. A key? For a car? Yes, young friends, once upon a time, you needed a key to start your car. Here’s how it worked: you put the key into the ignition slot, you’d turn the key while placing one foot on the brake, and you’d listen for the engine to “catch.” Then if it was cold outside, you’d wait for your engine to “warm up.” But if you’ve only ever had a keyless ignition system, you wouldn’t understand. 

carshutterstock (2)

Cranking the car window

Here’s another thing millennials might not understand. “Cranking the car window” has virtually no meaning nowadays. But back in the day, before car windows were automated with the touch of a button, it’s what you did when you wanted to let some fresh air into the car. You literally turned a crank. And don’t even get us started about how you “took the roof down from the convertible.” Let’s just say you had to wonder whether it was worth the trouble. But here’s the thing: There will never be any car as cool as these vintage models.

gasshutterstock (2)

Finding cheap gas

Seriously, we have no idea how we found cheap gas before apps like GasBuddy existed. Now we click on the app, and it uses our GPS to find our location and then tells us what local gas stations are charging, in real time. In the past, we had to remember which gas stations overcharged.

gasshutterstock (2)

Driving a car without any gas

I’m not that old, I swear. But if you’d told 5-year-old me that one day I’d be driving a car that doesn’t require gas, I’d have laughed. Back then, I’d also have been sitting in the front passenger seat, which these days we know is a no-no for five year olds. But you live and you learn. Nowadays, you can buy a whole variety of cars that don’t require gas. All they require is that you plug them into a specialized outlet in the wall. Like a hair dryer or an alarm clock. I’m still kind of amazed. Don’t miss these accidental discoveries that changed the world.

skyingshutterstock (2)

Skiing safely (and better)

Speaking of safety, back in the day, it was virtually unheard of to wear a helmet while skiing. Now, it’s unusual to see a skiier without a helmet. Skis, themselves, are built of more durable materials and are therefore less prone to snapping in half midway through a mogul run. Skis are also shorter and wider than they used to be, and carved to hug the snow more efficiently. This provides a smoother (and ultimately safer) ride. It also means you can ski better

doctorshutterstock (2)

Surviving a heart attack

Speaking of physical fitness, although cardiologists agree that going to the gym is an important part of a heart-healthy day, there is a risk—ever so slight—that a workout can trigger an underlying heart condition that can lead to cardiac arrest. Luckily, the invention of the “automated external defibrillator” (AED) has been a game-changer. Over the past 18 years, the survival rate from exercise-induced cardiac arrest has increased to a whopping 93 percent thanks to the AED, which can shock the heart into a normal cardiac rhythm. Here are 56 old-time home remedies were wish would make a comeback.

sunscreenshutterstock (2)

Skin cancer prevention

Your chances of getting skin cancer are vastly reduced by using adequate sun protection from an early age. Back in the day, there was no such thing, beyond staying out of the sun entirely. Beginning in the 1960s, Coppertone began marketing a product called “Shade,” which, in its early days, promised a “sun protection factor” (SPF) of eight. That meant that if you slathered on the Shade, you could remain in the sun eight times longer than you could without it—without burning. Nowadays, you can buy products that boast an SPF of 50. Here’s what being healthy will feel and look like in the future.

faucetshutterstock (2)

Germ-avoidance (in public restrooms)

Using a public restroom can be kind of icky, and it hasn’t gotten much better since back in the day. What has gotten better is how you wash your hands. Back in the day, you had to touch the faucet to turn on the sink. Now, many public bathrooms can boast automatic faucets. 

autographshutterstock (2)

Interacting with celebrities

Back in the day, if you wanted to even see a celebrity, you had to go to New York or Los Angeles and hope to run into one. Then you had to hope you didn’t sound dopey as you asked for an autograph, which was usually the extent of the interaction. These days, thanks to social media, it almost feels as if celebrities are one of us. There they are, right on Twitter, retweeting your flattering tweet, if you’re lucky, or replying to your tweet if you’re even luckier. 

paparazzishutterstock (2)

Becoming a celebrity

Andy Warhol once said that “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” It seems he was right, although the notion of what it means to be “famous” has changed, splintering into various categories such as “Twitter famous” and “Instagram Famous” that often appeal to teens. “I call it Hannah Montana Syndrome,” says Jim Anderson, whose daughter is 14. “Kids today like the idea of being ordinary kids with manageable lives while simultaneously juggling massive viral celebrity. And they have this idea that maybe they can make it happen.”

Now, it’s not all that difficult to access one’s 15 minutes of fame. All it takes is one good (or terrible) tweet or one really controversial Instagram photo. That’s how it happened for Alice Field, who became an instant fitness sensation when a couple of her Instagram photos went viral. But hopefully, when it’s your turn, you’ll already understand that even temporary fame comes at a personal cost, as Anderson tries to emphasize to his daughter. “And hopefully, anyone who does manage to achieve this sort of instant viral level of celebrity will be prepared to accept both sides of the Hannah Montana equation.” Check out these nostalgic photos that capture the magic of childhood.

youtubeshutterstock (2)

Expressing an opinion

“In the future, everyone will be able to express an opinion that might be read and misinterpreted as fact,” said no one in particular, and yet everyone knows this is the reality of the Internet age. Back in the day, if you wanted to express an opinion, your choices of platform were limited. You could write a letter to the editor and hope it got published. You could become the editor, maybe. Or you could become a celebrity and make the rounds of the talk-show circuit.

Fast forward to now and all you have to do is tweet out 140 characters. Other platforms for opinion-expressing include:

  • Blogging
  • Vlogging
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Your dating profile
  • Online support groups
  • Every online community that has an interactive bulletin board

However, just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you have to express it, and certainly not on the Internet. 

meetingshutterstock (2)

Being passive aggressive

This probably could go under the category of “expressing an opinion,” but being passive aggressive is a very special sort of opinion-expressing. Specifically, it’s a form of criticism (which is to say, it’s a verbal act of aggression). However, it is entirely indirect, which makes it almost the opposite of expressing an opinion. That said, it’s quite effective as a way of expressing an opinion. The most well-studied form of passive aggressiveness on the Internet is known as “subtweeting,” by which one tweets a criticism, complaint, or other negative observation about someone without naming the person. But any forum by which an opinion can be expressed provides a perfect opportunity to be passive aggressive.

scienceshutterstock (2)

Tracing your roots

Back in the day, if you wanted to trace your ancestry, you had to either go to Utah, where many ancestry-related records are kept, or you had to personally visit the countries from which you believed your ancestors immigrated. In neither instance was there any guarantee that your trip would prove fruitful. In the case of traveling to foreign countries, you were also up against the language barrier. These days, if you spend a few weeks on Ancestry.com, you can probably trace back at least several generations, without having to leave your house or hire a translator. If you want an even deeper dive, you can send your spit to one of those DNA-analyzing services such as 23 and Me or AncestryDNA. These are the 12 family history questions you’ll want to ask your parents.

laptopshutterstock (2)

Instant gratification

Back in the day, patience was a virtue. It’s still a virtue, supposedly, but there are now far fewer opportunities to practice it because so many things that used to take time to happen can now happen instantly. For example:

  • In business, mail, and overnight couriers have been superseded by e-mail and document-sharing.
  • If you want to raise funds for your favorite charity, you can use a crowdfunding website and e-mail the link to everyone you know.
  • Meetings can be conducted remotely via Skype, without the need for travel.
  • Students no longer have to type their term papers after writing them longhand; they simply draft them directly onto the computer.
  • You don’t have to go to your high school reunion because all your childhood friends are on Facebook.
  • You don’t need to take a ticket to enter a turnpike or present it and pay cash to pay the toll, thanks to EZPass.

Even things we never dreamed were possible can now happen instantly, such as smoothing wrinkles (with injectables such as Botox), smoothing out fat bulges (with liposuction), and reducing your stomach’s capacity for food (via gastric bypass).

And here are the things that millennials will simply never understand, no matter how hard they try.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.