It was a simpler time. Before the internet sank its hooks into us and took over our lives. Before social media taught us a new way to communicate. We had Britney pre-umbrella incident. We had American Idol. We had Pokemon. Some may argue that it was the best time to grow up. All the brilliance of a Tamagotchi stirred up with The Sims and mixed in with Mountain Dew Code Red. We knew who we were and we knew who our neighbors were. What a privilege. What a difference a decade makes.
There are plenty of us who long for this time, when things didn’t seem so chaotic and unpredictable. They are the nostalgic among us, many of whom grew up between 2000 and 2009. Whether they’re missing that specific time period or just missing their childhood is up for debate. What’s for certain though is that these Redditors are nostalgic for some highly specific things from the ‘00s.
33. All About That Cube
Nintendo Gamecube—I know it was the third place console, but it had so many games that I played constantly. I still think Rogue Leader is the best Star Wars game ever made—and that was sixteen years ago!
32. Before Clickbait Mania
Early YouTube really was fantastic. Nowadays YouTube, even the smaller channels, it’s all the same few general video formats and clickbait titles. I mean seriously, is it the second you gain over 1,000 subs that YouTube sends you some guide to making clickbait titles that play well with their algos? “WOW I CAN’T BELIEVE I DID THIS.” “5 THINGS I DID TO X THAT CAUSED Y.” “I RUINED MY Y.” “WHAT DO HOT GIRLS THINK ABOUT Z.”
I miss the old days of genuinely funny and original content like Smosh, NigaHiga, KevJumba, and even the animated stuff like the PivotMasterDX, all the YT poop, and that one guy from Newgrounds who made Metal Gear Awesome—possibly the funniest video on the planet.
31. Capitalism Ruined the Internet
I feel like there was a long time where people on the internet did things just because they wanted to, rather than to make money or get attention. People shared things on places like Digg and Reddit because we all enjoyed seeing things from all over the internet. Facebook was about connecting with the people around your college campus. People made things for fun and had discussions because they were interesting.
Then companies finally figured out how to manipulate internet users. Their presence was no longer just a website you could check for hours and products. Now it seems like every company and YouTube/Instagram/whatever star are all trying to make things ‘viral’ as an advertising gimmick. Websites don’t just give you articles with a sprinkling of ads, they need you to download their app and like their Facebook page and sign over the rights to your soul and follow them on Twitter.
It’s lost a lot of the passion and genuineness that I associate with using the internet when I was younger. I feel like I’m being force-fed content from companies with a financial stake, rather than discovering something interesting that another person did or made.
30. Communication Breakdown
I miss the flip phone era from like 2006 to 2010, for me at least.
I was just better at communication back then. I was in seventh grade to mid-high school back then and if I wanted to talk to a girl I’d call her. Texting wasn’t unlimited for a lot of people.
Also I remember the exchange of CDs with my friends growing up which we would rip to our computers.
The entire way I interacted was different. Now there’s Snapchat and all these dating apps and Spotify, which is nice, but if I tried my old game of calling a girl up at 9 pm to chat it would fail, most likely.
I guess I just miss the need for more old-school interaction. But there’s no going back now.
29. It Gave Us Realness
I just miss the overall aesthetic of the ‘00s. Everything was all gritty because it was barely a new millennium and nobody knew how the future would look like. Companies back then had overcomplicated logos to help them stand out from the rest of the crowd. Everything felt more real than the over-simplicity of today, and I truly miss that.
28. It’s Out There, Waiting
I graduated high school in 2001. I’ll always remember my yellow Sony Discman connected to the tape deck in my ’94 Saturn SL2. It was a stick shift too! The anti-skip didn’t work great, but I loved my collection of CDs I had going in the visor. Primus, Rush, Tool, Pink Floyd.
Oh, and my skateboard in the back seat. I believe it was a Maple deck, with Destructo trucks, Powell Bones, and some really old Spitfire wheels. That car will never die. It had 280,000 miles on it when the odometer broke. I sold it for $100 to a friend and he drove it for another year before selling it again. It’s still out there somewhere…
27. Golden Age of Pop Punk
I’m sure every generation would say the same thing about the time around their high school years, but music. Even more so, music shows like MTV and VH1.
I miss good music on the radio. It’s been so long that alternative today is definitely not the alternative I grew up on.
MTV and VH1 were actually good and not just reality shows—well… kinda. But at least VH1’s shows were music related.
26. The Best and Worst of Fashion
The early 2000s had the most fun clothes. Every darn thing I owned at that age had glitter or rhinestones. Also, capri pants, flare leg jeans, someone I knew had a belt that was made from a seatbelt and then decorated with bottle caps (she started a trend of everyone buying that belt). The clothes were so colorful and tacky.
Maybe it’s just because I’m an adult, but clothing trends seem more boring lately.
25. People Change, Man
People actually wanting to hang out in person.
In the mid-2000s when I had a party and invited 15 people, 15 would show up.
In recent years if I invite 15, 2 show up, 5 flake out an hour before it starts, and the others just never respond and then later complain about how “nobody ever has parties anymore.”
I started to notice a big change in all of my social groups around 2011/12ish. Several clubs that I am a member of had a sharp decline in membership this decade.
People just want to sit around at home reading clickbait and politics on Facebook.
24. Damn, This Got Dark
It was high school and college for me, from 2002 to 2011. Now I’m just a washed up corporate IT lackey who drags his ass to work every day and hates it, then goes home and tries to not kill himself with alcohol poisoning and tobacco every night. Nothing interests me anymore and I’m basically a soulless husk.
College and high school were great because I got to play my trumpet all day every day and became good enough to graduate with high honors with my bachelors in jazz studies…Too bad no one needs a trumpet player and everyone needs an IT person.
23. You’re off the Rader
Not having social media.
Don’t get me wrong, I use it to keep in touch with friends and family, but I hate how necessary it is in 2018. Like, you won’t get invited to parties if you don’t have Facebook, your friends won’t send you a message if you don’t use Messenger, you can’t see pictures of friends unless you have Instagram, you don’t know what’s going on in the world if you don’t have Twitter. Like you are dead to the world if you don’t have social media.
I also feel like all of these social media platforms all had an original purpose and appeal, and over time that purpose has changed for the sake of profits. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube (got worse), Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest.
22. Limewire was a Treasure
Starting a game unsuccessfully, only to remember that you forgot to move the .exe from the crack folder.
Debating which anti-virus software was better than Norton.
Late night real talk on MSN messenger.
Tinkering with your Winamp playlist/skins. Especially that equalizer-bar-thing.
Burning a CD and praying that it wouldn’t fail, because you didn’t invest in CD-RW’s.
Finally opening that blockbuster movie you spent a week downloading from Kazaa/Limewire/DC++, and it’s actually the right movie.
21. Best. Time. Ever.
Man, I remember my first Halo party at my buddy’s house in high school. We had a couple Xboxes, 2 liters of Code Red, pizzas, Blink 182/Jimmy Eat World/Sum 41 etc. playing in the background. It was the most 2000s thing ever, ergo it was the best thing ever.
20. Ahh Yes, the Cartoons
The OG Teen Titans, Avatar: The Last Airbender when it was still premiering, lots of cartoons I guess.
19. Blockbuster Weekends
Going to Guitar Center to check the ‘drummer wanted’ flyers on the bulletin board near the entrance.
Walking down to Blockbuster to rent DVDs.
NOT having internet. Seems completely insane now.
Checking my translucent blue VTECH answering machine when I got home from work.
18. Myspace is Still Alive for Those Who Can’t Delete Their Account
Myspace. The site was flawed, but it was so much fun. The crazy layouts, the “top 8” friends, the surveys, the music—I loved that site and I’m honestly sad something as bland as Facebook took over.
17. Less Trolls, Cooler People
The internet was so cool back then in the early ‘00s when it was just about sharing information and it seemed like everyone was on the same team just trying to figure out stuff and have a nice time.
The introduction of social media created this feeling of separation and extreme personalization, as well as narcissism.
And don’t get me started on sports fans on the internet. Just horrible. Can’t even discuss your favorite sport. All 90% do is trash-talk an opposing team or player.
This always seems to happen as things get overly popular. Happens with subreddits too. I think the sweet spot is 10,000-20,000 subscribers. Enough people to have great conversation and a wide variety of views and angles but not too many that it is just filled with trolls and horrible people.
A lot of this stems from the “privilege” of anonymity on the web. No consequences for your actions. I bet that 95% of the people who talk shit on the web wouldn’t do so if they had to do it face-to-face.
16. The Games. The Fun. The Friendship.
The flash games. Oh boy. I loved finding a games site at school that wasn’t blocked, then you would pass it around like it was high-end contraband.
15. Talking Bout My G-G-Generation
I’m going to say it: I miss (some aspects of) nu-metal and the transition from nu-metal to metalcore.
Even if you aren’t a metalhead, there was a lot of great music rooted in 1998-2006.
Ozzfest 2001 and 2002 were insane. I wish I had gone to 1999 also.
In hindsight, Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. look kind of ridiculous, but it was a lot of fun at the time.
I also miss Eminem in his prime. 1998-2004 had some incredible rap albums drop, too.
14. So Much Focus, So Much Excitement
Buying a game at the store, reading the manual on the car ride home, then popping the disc in the console and immediately playing it, the entire game and what it had to offer, nothing more.
13. The Poetry of Lost Fans
I always say that no one will ever get to watch Lost again because 90% of it was having to wait a week or two weeks or eight months for the next episode, and arguing about it online to pass the time. It was about the journey, not the destination. Now people can just binge it and all you get is the show, which frankly is imperfect.
The internet is the place Lost fans made so we could find each other.
12. Evolution of Political Debate
I feel like in the 2000s I still felt connected to people even when I disagreed with them politically.
Now I don’t and I think it’s because our perception of reality has become so individualized to suit our biases.
In the old days, we would debate politics from the same facts. Knowing that we were in the same reality and that we agreed on that reality I think helped us feel connected in a way that we underestimated at the time.
Now, it’s hard to debate politics not just with people who vote for the opposite party but even with people who vote your party because reality and facts have been subdued in a vast ocean of information and misinformation that’s curated for our individual liking.
It’s hard to debate politics when we can’t even agree on what actually happened or whose reality is the right one and I think that disconnect breaks down into angry insults and people staying in their bubbles and echo chambers.
In other words, knowing that we had the same facts and the same reality seemed to restrain the political divide. Take that away and now everything feels like we’re talking, shouting, and insulting to score points for our side, not to actually have a dialogue.
11. What About Yu-Gi-Oh Though?
The anime. Seriously was the Golden Age for us. I remember when Fullmetal Alchemist was this brand new anime everyone was talking about. Also, our community felt a lot more niche. Feels more like everyone watches it today just for the sake of watching it.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been quite a few great titles to come out in this decade, but the ‘00s had some seriously good shit.
10. Safety Is a Privilege Now
I miss I could plan a backpacking trip around the world without having to worry about getting messed with just being a US citizen. I miss life without reality TV and the internet in our pockets.
9. Oh Gas Prices, How You Torture Us So
- Kikwear pants.
- AIM. I used to leave up away messages stating where I would be, and to come hang out. Massive gatherings of bored teens without leaving people out ensued.
- Simple cellphones were the norm. No Facebook.
- Gas under $2/gallon
- Pontiac Firebirds.
8. I Feel This So Hard
I was born in ‘96 so the 2000s were my childhood—early adolescent years.
Darn was it fun to run around my neighborhood after school with all of the other kids who lived there. Life was just a constant adventure. Summer, fall, winter, or spring, it didn’t matter, we were always running from one house to another, playing baseball in the cul de sac, exploring the woods in tree line behind our houses, biking down the hills on the roads that ran through the neighborhood, playing Xbox in someone’s house one minute then playing touch or tackle football in the front yard the next.
Summers were pretty much us meeting outside every single day at 10 am and staying busy until it got dark by either swimming in someone’s pool, running through sprinklers, having water gun fights, or a million other things we’d do. I remember when American Idiot came out we all sat in my friend’s room and closed the door to listen to it because Billie Joe said “F—!”
It feels like most kids today don’t have that type of childhood. They don’t run around and hang out anymore. I’m not sure what the reason is, but I just feel like they’re missing out on the best time of their life. I’d honestly give anything to go back and have one more day to run around and be free instead of having to spend the day at the office. I get so nostalgic thinking about it that I almost choke up at the thought that I won’t ever experience it again. I know there are other fun things I can do as an adult, but it will never compare. I just remember the ‘00s as the best formative years I could’ve ever asked for, and I miss it. I think about it a lot.
Shout out to my dudes from Collegeville, PA. It was real.
7. Virtual Friendships
AOL chatrooms. It was nice to just be able to chat with strangers all around the world. It was nice to go into the same chat and see the same usernames, even if you never actually met them in real life.
The internet has shifted from a model of “Talk to new people!” to “Talk to people you already know!” which is nice and all, but I wish there was still more of that whole make-new-friends vibe.
6. Sam the Record Man, Anyone?
Going to the record store.
You could get good seats to a concert, and if you were lucky, bands made an appearance before concerts. Little meet and greets.
Also, body jewelry, posters, t-shirts, incense, key chains, and bumper stickers. The record store was heaven and always smelled good.
5. Pika Pika
Pokemon played a huge part in shaping the person I became today, not to mention the friends I have as well. When it was new and fresh and took the world by storm, it was really something else, and I heavily associate it with the entire decade.
4. *dial up noise*
A lot. The effort of using dial-up. I would always cross my fingers hoping it wouldn’t troubleshoot.
I miss my Britney Spears crappy cover that I had for my Nokia phone. I also had a red flame one with a car on it that my brother bought for me.
Limewire and developing tinnitus due to the loud audio of “I DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN.”
3. Ahh, That Carefree Attitude Before We Ruined Everything
The brief period of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s had a very interesting culture. It was alternative, yet wholesome in a way that can only be described by showing someone the TV show Mission Hill.
On the whole, people were much more carefree right before 9/11.
2. Nobody’s Perfect
I miss the messy culture of the 2000s. People wore ugly accessories, too many layers, messy makeup. Now, everything has to be so perfect, so “Instagrammable.”
1. Yer a Wizard, Harry!
Harry Potter being in its heyday and theorizing about what would happen in the next books.
The midnight book releases were such an incredible thing to be a part of, especially because I was roughly the same age as the main characters for each book. I wouldn’t sleep until I’d finished. Everything from learning the book title, to wondering what would happen in the next one, to dressing up for the release and being surrounded by people just as excited as you are, to finally getting the 7th book and literally reading through tears from The Prince’s Tale onwards… I don’t think anything will ever be quite like it.