How people communicated 20 years ago

Do you know the ways people used to communicate 20 years ago? When did the Internet appear in our lives? Did your parents have a FB or Instagram account in 2000? What was the first social network that existed? Let’s know more about the ways people communicated before 2000.

Listening Drag and drop exercise

Listen to these two friends talking about how people communicated 20 years ago and how we communicate now. Which of the following ways of communication were popular in the late 1990s? Which ones started to be popular after the 2000s? Classify them into the correct column.

Conversation part 1/2

cell phones
conventional phones
instant messages
In the late 1990s In the early 2000s
Writing exercise

Listen again and answer the following:

1 | When did people start to have an email account? 1996
2 | When could people use the Internet as a common practice? 1998
3 | What was the problem people had when they wanted to use the Internet? It was slow / It took time to log on or download a document
4 | According to Fernando, what devices do people have nowadays? Cell phones, pagers, wireless mobile devices, and personal computers or laptops
5 | When did Mark Zuckerberg launch Facebook? In 2004

Fernando: Hey Luisa, what are you doing?

Luisa: Hi, Fer! I'm preparing my final project for school.

Fernando: Really? What is it about?

Luisa: I want to show the different ways people used to communicate 20 years ago and the ones we use now.

Fernando: Wow! Tell me more!

Luisa: Did you know that people didn't use cell phones as we do these days? It was very expensive to buy one.

Fernando: Come on! Who can live without a cell phone?

Luisa: My father says that families had phones at home and that there weren't any social networks. The Internet started to be popular, but it was expensive too. Listen, this is part of my research: “By 1996 email was becoming a “thing”, and many people got their first email account, whether it was Yahoo or AOL. 1996 was also the year people started using instant messaging via our computers; instant real time chats and communications at the click of a button.”

Fernando: I can't believe it! No Facebook, no Tiktok, no Instagram?

Luisa: And there is more... “While the internet started attracting attention in the early nineties, it was only in about 1998 that it went mainstream. This was when we started enjoying access to a world of information, even if it took 20 minutes for our dial-up connection to log on, and another 20 minutes to download a text document.”

Fernando: 20 minutes! Pfff! Today, we have cell phones, pagers, wireless mobile devices, and personal computers or laptops — all with access to the Internet. Today, we communicate via email, instant messaging, and online chat rooms. I got my first cell phone at the age of 10.

Luisa: Me too! Nowadays we communicate in ways that were not even imaginable 30 years ago, and now I can’t imagine how our parents or grandparents ever lived without these technologies.

Fernando: That's really interesting, Luisa!

Luisa: And that's just the beginning. As the internet was growing in stature and usability in the late nineties, cell phones were starting to become universal in most of our lives, making communications easier and changing our social lives forever.

Fernando: It's amazing all that we have now! Yesterday I read about social media and guess what? Some of the first social media sites were Hi5 and Myspace before Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004 and changed social communications for everyone.

True or False exercise

Now listen to the end of the conversation and decide if the following information is True, False or Not mentioned.

Conversation part 2/2

  True False Not mentioned

People can have access to the same information by using the cloud.

People use Facebook or Instagram to collect money for charity. They use them to make plans, advertise events, and share images and information instantly with friends.

Virtual Reality is another way people can communicate.

Fernando mentions that there are three famous apps that are changing the way we communicate. He mentions two: Snapchat and Tiktok.

Fernando wants to help Luisa with her project.

Luisa: And I think we don't need to wait more to imagine the future of communication. We work in the cloud allowing everyone to access the same information and data from anywhere in the world. There are lots of online courses allowing anyone to study online.

Fernando: And what about the way we make plans, advertise events, and share images and information instantly with friends? Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp are examples of this.

Luisa: Wow! That's true. We can even set up websites and apps to raise money for special causes, whether it’s an expedition or raising money for charity.

Fernando: You’re right! And don’t forget to include video calls. Yesterday I saw a documentary about how the introduction of video calling changed the way people interact. Skype, for example, has probably helped many long-distance relationships. But apart from conference calling and video-chatting, apps like Snapchat and Tiktok are changing the communication game. People can now rapidly interact face-to-face without spending hours through the phone and we can also add elements to communication that don’t exist in real life, for instance filters.

Luisa: Hey, you have good ideas that can improve my project! Help me work on it!

Fernando: Sure! But let's have something for lunch.

Luisa: That's a deal! Let's order it by Didi.