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5 signs you might be getting too old for the internet

I’m starting to think I may be getting too old for the internet.

I got my first computer in 1991. It was a 286 running DOS 3.1 and had a 20MB Hard Disk and an amber monitor. Playing on it made me feel like I was running the NASA space station. It felt awesome. A lot has changed since then. Not only are computers interconnected but so are we. With a smartphone in our pockets we have access to the total knowledge of the human race, at the tip of our fingers.

Just pause and think about that for a minute. Everything you ever wanted to know on absolutely any topic is at the tip of your finger. While many people reading this article will still remember having to use the Reference Section of the library for a school project, some younger readers may think it’s strange that I think that way because the Internet has always been there.

To put things in perspective: 100 years ago a letter from London to Cape Town would take three to six weeks by boat. And airmail didn’t exist. Now we Skype our friends and get annoyed when they haven’t responded to Whatsapp in five minutes.

So here are five signs to show you’re too old for the Internet:

1. You have no idea who Caspar Lee or Jack & Finn are

Caspar Lee is a YouTube celebrity. While he doesn’t quite have the amount of followers as Justin Bieber he has over a million subscribers on YouTube. Yes YouTube. Some people I questioned didn’t even know that was a thing and confused Twitter with YouTube. (Really people, you should be ashamed).

Vlogging is a real thing and is incredibly popular with teens. It has been for quite a while and the rest of the Internet is only catching up now and trying to understand the large captive audience. Since people like Caspar, Jack and Finn have broken out into mainstream media they’ve been treated with awe. However did they grow their follower base without anyone noticing?

Which begs another question: is Finn the better twin? (If you didn’t get it, you’re too old)

2. You still think email is cool

Do you think email is cool? Amazing how you can get a message, with attachments, sent around the globe within minutes? You’re too old. According to research done by Socialnomics it seems that Gen-Y thinks email is a rather outdated, like sending mail via the post, or fax.

It seems that Gen-Y and the Millennials consider social media and Instant Messaging the better form of communications.

3. You miss the sound of a modem

I got my first modem in 1993. It was an incredible 9600bps modem which made my friends insanely jealous as they were still sitting on 4800bps modems. To put that in perspective, it was a 0.0096Mbit connection. For me the internet just isn’t the same without the beeps and screeching white-noise before going online.

4. You still have a library card

Want to give away your age? Flash your library card around. While the concept of “sharing information” has been around since the first monasteries built libraries in the middle ages, it is a rather odd idea these days to get in your car, drive to a building, scrounge around for something to read and then give it back within 14 days.

Access to information has become pivotal in society today. And while libraries certainly have a role to play it’s become less relevant as broadband access rolls out. Young people don’t want a library with a smattering of books to choose from when Amazon has millions of titles available for immediate download.

5. You confuse Twitter with texting

There remains a sub-group of humans who still consider twitter as an oddity. They think twitter is all about telling people what you’re doing or what you’ve had for breakfast. They fail to see the potential reach or marketing power behind twitter. Or as a corporate CEO recently told me, “It’s like texting your friends all at once?”

No sir, you are too old for the internet. Go sit in a corner before you hurt yourself.

So, dear reader, what do you do if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being too old for the internet? Do you hand over the reins to a younger fellow and let yourself out to pasture? Early retirement? Prepare your Last Will and Testament and wait for the end?

Should you rebel against the trends? Insist that the internet is just a fad and stay true to the fundamental principles and foundations that has stood the test of time? (AKA Lehmann Brothers and General Motors)

Or do you look at marrying the zeal of the young with the wisdom of the ancient?

Author | Tony Seifart

Tony Seifart
With a Degree in Heavy Current Electrical Engineering from UCT Tony Seifart quit his first job after six months when he realised his boss was the one making all the money. Since 2002 he’s been working as an internet marketer, using the internet to build an online income and... More

23 Comments

  1. Xileer

    August 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    According to 1, if you don’t sheep-style follow generic teen celebrities, you’re too old for the internet…

    Riiiight….

    Oh well – Now that I’m here, let me go down the list…

    2. – I think many things are cool. Take e-mail away, then you’ll REALLY see how many people thought it was so ;)

    3. – I might not miss it – But it surely brings up nostalgia. And those who forget where we came from are doomed to repeat the past…

    4. Not every e-book is free (And many are hard to find) – In many cases, it’s SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper to own a Library Card if you read a lot.

    5. I might not confuse it with texting, but it’s not something I tend to use – I simply don’t see the point.

  2. Wookiee

    August 8, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Failed all 5 and I am happy to have done so.

    But then I am with Xileer on this as well, just because I am not a teenager filled with “awesome” any more, and needing to be fed info on my latest celebrities and actually know what a modulator demodulator is and means and does.

    5 ways to know you are too young for the internet.

    1) You think Wikipedia is a ‘reputable’ source of information. And you cannot understand why it wouldn’t be.

    2) You think facebook is the height of social interaction.

    3) You say “lol” like its a word rather than actually laughing, I have not heard many tweenagers laugh lately, it is usually a smile and a “loooool”

    4) You think memes are the height of comedy.

    5) You only remember your friends birthdays because the internet reminded you some how.

    And an honorable mention goes to: Anyone who thought “this dude is just a butthurt oldfag” while reading this list.

  3. Gayle Teague

    August 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

    That really made me laugh! I am sure you will appreciate the lack of acronyms in that statement. The ironic thing is, whilst I have long been derided for not using social media, some people who meet your five requirements above are starting to regard this as ‘cool’ in an anti-culture kind of way!

  4. iNetGlobalSolutions

    August 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Funny article on being too old for the internet.

  5. Wastrel Way

    August 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Amusing. I actually use the internet so none of this applies to me. If the internet were a sport that I could get too old to play then this would make more sense to me.

  6. Lena

    August 10, 2013 at 4:50 am

    I was born in the 80s. Not sure which generation that is. Is that Y or Millennial? Anyway…

    1. I watch a lot of videos on YouTube, but no, I’ve never heard of #1.

    2. I don’t think email is cool, but it has its uses.

    3. I hated that grating sound then, I still hate it now when I think about it.

    4. I don’t have a library card, but I’d like to one of these days.

    5. Twitter is EXACTLY “all about telling people what you’re doing or what you’ve had for breakfast.” The whole marketing thing is secondary.

  7. evilredbird

    August 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Yeah this was about a joke to read dude get a life you opinions are a joke

  8. lao hu

    August 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I read your article with some interest. It takes me back a few years for sure. However as an ex pat living in Mainland China which has the world’s largest online community where access to youtube, twitter , facebook and the like just isn’t possible for the average user then
    1. Disagree:, Most people here haven;t heard of youtube let alone Casper Lee.
    2. Agree: Most users prefer instant messaging over email.
    3. N/A: Internet users here are young . They weren’t around in the days of the beeping modem.
    4. Maybe: Access to information online in China is still limited . Students often go to libraries due to this limitation. Often non approved websites are actually banned by colleges forcing them to either use the library or leave campus.
    5. Disagree: Most people have never heard of twitter regardless of their age.

  9. Becky

    August 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Yeah yeah!

  10. Souvik

    August 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    At 17 I’m too old for Internet man !!

  11. George G.

    September 3, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Hello Tony,

    You are a little bit vague regarding point No. 4. You don’t come out and own up straight as to whether you use a kindle to read e-books downloaded from the internet.

    I was programming computers before you were old enough to shave, but that did not prevent me from acquiring a kindle some wjhile back. I have not looked back since then and I can’t recollect when the last time was that I bough a hard-copy book.

    If you are still relying on paper-based texts for your books, you fall in the same category as the pharanoic Egyptians who communicated with papyri,

  12. Pashito

    September 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I’m assuming this article is tongue in cheek because otherwise it’s quite offensive.
    I bought my first computer in the late 80s, am now in my 50s and my friends’ children, who all have smartphones and think they’re the height of cool, come to me to get help on various things such as retrieving lost files, setting up blogs, understanding tags, creating graphics and using advanced functions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, searching the web for projects, etc. etc. Let’s not forget who actually invented computers and the internet.

  13. Keith Roberts

    September 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Well I bought my computer in the fifties and I’m now 80. But nobody comes to me for help! Actually, I’m lying, I used a computer, a Hollerith Punch Card Sorter in the fifties, but I ran my own small business during the period when people started buying computers for home use, so when I next used a computer I was, and still am lost.

  14. mindpower

    September 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Silly article:

    1. Who cares who those people are? I bet there are a thousand “huge” celebrities you have no idea about. Do you know every fashion designer, movie producer, rock star, pop star, famous graffiti artist, drum ‘n bass legend? YouTube is simply a medium through which these “celebrities” market themselves.

    2. Ever tried sending or reading a 30 page PDF via text on a phone? Go ahead then tell us if instant messaging is the best medium for communications. Everything has its uses.

    3. I loved the sound of modems for a year after I started using them because that connection was an exciting new thing. Then it became annoying. I’m sure most people from the dialup era feel the same.

    4. I have a Kindle and iPad and read enough on those but sometimes I like real books too. I see loads of young people in the library so I’m guessing you never visit any libraries.

    5. Confusing twitter with texting? That’s no sign of being “too old for the internet” it’s a sign of being uneducated in such matters, or just plain stupid.

    Remember that things like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. were not invented by kids, so even if kids think they’re cool they’re using something designed by an “old” person.

  15. Stephen Emhecht

    October 3, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    You’re only starting to think you’re too old for the internet? After that atrocious iPhone article, I’m starting to think so too.

  16. TOM

    October 24, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Hello to you, and your smart ass freinds.You been to a library yet? Didn’t think so cause there is a pc line for every one to use if you don’t have one at home and people to help you find what you need SO HAVING A LIBRARY CARD don’t make you too old stypid and i’am 72 and not to old to have a card.lol and thanks

  17. S. Krishnamurthy

    October 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    There is no such a thing called too old to learn this or that.. If a person is interested in learning new Things, age is just a number!

  18. Anon

    October 30, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Did a 10 year old write this? It’s really good! Show it to your English teacher maybe they will put it up on the wall

  19. FormerBBSSysop

    November 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    #3 Fail. I highly doubt any of your friends had a 4800 baud modem. But hey, it sure sounds neat, doesn’t it?

  20. Bryan Hann

    November 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Get off my LAN!

  21. quatra

    November 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Sorry, I’m 65 years and have had PCs since 1985 and consider myself pretty savvy. Twitter? Facebook? Second Life? Forget it. I think that whatever I do, with whom and when, what I think, etc. is pretty much my business. If somebody gets to the point of thinking that his/her life has to be funny and interesting to other people he/she is in a certain mental state. Besides, if the government thinks that I’m plotting something nasty, they’ll have to put an agent on my tail to overhear the conversation in my house, in a bar or on the beach. I don’t think they’ll go that far. If I want to see my REAL friends, we get together, shoot the bull, have a drink or go on vacation together. Does anybody nowadays have a real social life rather than blabbering on a cell phone, texting or sitting for hours on end behind a computer? Get out, have a life.

  22. WebWonk

    November 8, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Tony Seifart, you’re a facetious ass.

  23. electricnick

    November 10, 2013 at 3:39 am

    I can remember 1200 Baud modems why not a 4800?

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