July 12th is the Net Neutrality Day of Action - a day where everyone who cares about Net Neutrality stands up and reminds the ISPs and FCC that we value an open, free internet. If you're interested in knowing more about Net Neutrality (and why you should care about it, here's our guide to summing up the topic. Of course, if you'd like a more reputable source than CollegeHumor, you can check out http://www.battleforthenet.com/ for information and links to make your voice heard.
And not to get too dismal, but we really need to make our voices heard - FCC Chairman Ajit Pai seems deadset on getting rid of Net Neutrality protections and allowing ISPs to operate however they wish, throttling traffic to certain sites and generally treating the concept of an open internet like Old Yeller behind the barn (hint: it does not end well for Old Yeller). And just in case things come to a bitter end, we thought it would be good to give a eulogy to the open internet - the internet we all grew up with, that we all came to know and love.
If you have any stories about how you fell in love with the open internet, some embarrassing tale of an online adventure, or any other story about the worldwide web you think is worth sharing - leave it in the comments, tweet us @CollegeHumor, or send an email to CollegeHumorEditorial@gmail.com - and we'll add it to this article (and include your Twitter name or Instagram name, if you'd like!).
The internet is literally how I got to college. As a kid I knew I wanted to have a career in art somehow but I didn't know what exactly I would have to do to get one. Like most teens in the early 2000's I spent a lot of time watching flash animation on sites like ebaumsworld and newgrounds.com. Eventually I decided that I'd also try to make a flash video and get a bunch of internet glory. I didn't. Animating is a super freaking tedious process. However reading a bunch of tutorials that I found in the newgrounds forums, I figured out how to um... obtain a copy of Adobe Photoshop and began making things. At one point newgrounds had a sister site called retrogade.com which was exactly like newgrounds, but instead of showcasing flash animation, it showcased art and design. I hung out there a lot and challenged myself to make things good enough to get on the front page. Eventually I had a piece on the front page once a month until the site shut down. By the time I was looking at colleges I had a pretty solid graphic design portfolio that got me into Pratt Institute, a top rated art school. My years of noodling around in photoshop and illustrator put me way ahead of my classmates in terms of technical skills which then help me land internships and eventually a design job at CollegeHumor. Now I would literally not have a job without the internet.
I am very young and hip so I was just a wee troll when the internet became a household thing, around 5 or 6. It was around that time I realized I was a gamer...specifically regarding a game called Babyz where you ran what pretty much amounted to an orphanage for infants you downloaded off the internet. It was kind of like Sims except they never grew up and they came through the birth canal of dial up internet. When you weren't changing/bathing/feeding them you could take screenshots of them and upload them to the official forums where people would vote hot or not on your virtual baby. Again, I was around 6 at the time and was climbing up the ladder of the virtual baby pageant circuit. Eventually Babyz, in all it's majesty, literally broke my computer and I wasn't allowed to play it anymore. However, I'll never forget those magical afternoons desperately trying to download a new baby because my current baby was too ugly to "make it" on the Babyz online forums. TL;DR I'm gonna be a great mom :)
We are here to celebrate the life and legacy of of the Open Internet. It gave me a job and taught me everything I know about wafflestomping. Let us watch one last high speed play of "Gangam Style" in its honor -- the Internet we knew really loved that video for some reason. I hope that the Open Internet is somewhere in the Cloud crackin' open some unlimited content with its beloved Vine and Napster. RIP, Big Guy.
I'll never forget the first time I started comprehending the potential of the internet: I was in the 6th grade, and my parents were unwilling to shell out the 15 bucks a month or whatever for AOL (understandably), so a friend of mine from school came over and used his login to show it off to me. I was immediately smitten with the size and mystery of it all, but the thing that jumped out at me the most was AOL Instant Messenger.
I watched with wide eyes as my friend clicked a few buttons and started chatting away with people we knew from school. EVEN GIRLS. This was a way that I could talk to GIRLS without having to actually TALK to them? REVOLUTIONARY! I stayed up until 3am on his account talking to a girl in my class, and that eventually led to me having my first girlfriend. It was a whirlwind relationship in which we kinda held hands one time and talked on the phone twice, and when she dumped me my heart was completely broken...
...For about a day, until I discovered Newgrounds and I forgot all about it.
Oh also I guess I got my job through Twitter, but whatever, Newgrounds was way more important.
Oh boy, me and the Open Internet go way back. I remember my friends and I going into AOL lesbian chatrooms so we could talk to (what I can only assume now to be teenage boys pretending to be lesbians for some sweet b00bie action) lesbians from around the world. For some reason we found it incredibly entertaining to use phrases like "scissor my butt" and "Can I motorboat your bosoms?"
Taboo mischief aside, net neutrality helped me discover all the weird shit that would help me grow into the weird adult I am today. Also, can everyone just acknowledge how much fun Dollz Mania was?? If you don't know what that is, blame the people who want to take internet freedom away from us.
In the early Internet days, a very concerned aunt or family friend forwarded an email (to where else but our family's shared email address at comcast.net) warning us about a website that, when you inputted your name into it, returned an exact photo of your driver's license with all your information on it. This person linked the website and said something along the lines of, "Lisa, this is very scary, just found it has my info on it. Check to see if it has yours."
I remember my mom getting very worked up - "How is this possible?", "I don't like where we're headed", as she inputted her information, hit enter, and sat nervously with a three-minute loading screen that would nowadays cause anyone to restart their router. I stood over her shoulder waiting - as if I was about to experience some grim adult reality for the first time.
Then BAM. A driver's license pops up, but instead of my mom's face, it was a flash animation of a doofy eyed monkey with a dunce cap. In place of all of her information it said stuff like "Haha!! Trisha got you good!!" 8-bit circus music played as I watched my mom's guard about Internet privacy lower and her guard for getting pranked on the Internet raise.
Weirdly, the first time I really felt in awe of the internet was when I downloaded iTunes and found out that you could preview songs on there. At that point, they were only 30 second long but I would listen to them like they were full songs. I remember thinking how cool it was that I could listen to any song my young heart desired and it didn't cost me a penny. I had never felt that much control. Like, if I wanted to listen to the chorus of the new Ja Rule song, it was only a click away...you know, provided it didn't cut out at the bridge.
Looking back I realize that they were specifically designed pique your interest enough to buy the full song, but back then I already felt like I had it all.
My first "whoa holy shit this is going to revolutionize the entire world" moment was when I found a South Park Chef soundboard that had like 6 quotes. It completely blew my mind that I could just SUMMON quotes from Chef JUST BY CLICKING A BUTTON. I couldn't fathom anything more incredible than that - until I found out about these weird medieval fantasy roleplaying chatrooms on AOL that a friend and I would constantly try to fuck around with by acting stupid, saying we'd killed random people in the room and repeating Austin Powers quotes nonstop. I got addicted to it fast - you probably won't remember this, but back in the day AOL had an option that charged people by the hour. And even though their free disc gave literally hundreds of free hours, I managed to sneakily run our internet bill over by about 90 hours all by myself (I would also hide cordless phones in the house to make it near impossible for my mom to interrupt the modem connection). My dad got super mad at me and grounded me from the internet for a week, which was a pretty light punishment considering it turned out AOL charged $3 per hour.
Over the years, the open internet and I got really close - from weird avenues like contributing a lot to a Kids in the Hall Episode Transcript Archive to arguing on torrent forums whether Weird Al was really the person singing "Secret Asian Man" to taking our relationship to the next step: by getting a job and working with the internet full-time. I love the Open Internet - and I'll never forget our time together.
When I was a wee child, my older cousin showed me something on the internet that I thought was the greatest thing ever- a website called Neopets. Eight-year old me spent so many hours raising my weird little virtual dragon pet (rest in pieces, LilBlewShoyru) and discovering the consequences of a failing simulated economy. But more importantly, I discovered the sense of community that being connected to other people on the internet through weird interests, be it mutant virtual pets or Yu-Gi-Oh GX fanfiction or whatever nonsense I'm constantly tweeting about to this day. So thanks, Internet, for connecting me to other amazing losers who share my interests when none of my IRL friends do, and making the world a cooler-seeming place. I'll always remember that.
The internet helped me, personally, catch a thief, which is cool.
I was in college and pulling an all-nighter in my room. I had to write some paper due the next day -- typical all-nighter affair. At about 3:30AM or so, I heard someone burst through our front door. It was kinda odd, but I thought maybe it was one of my two roommates. After a few minutes, I looked under my door and noticed the living room lights weren't on, despite hearing constant, slow footsteps. I thought that was odd. If it were my roommates, why wouldn't they just turn on the light? Oh yeah, and we had previously been robbed a couple months earlier. Sooo call it paranoia or whatever, but I decided I needed to find out what was going on. In the moment, I thought of a pretty decent plan. I had a cell phone and my roommates somehow didn't and still used a landline phone. So I decided to call the landline from my cellphone. If it were my roommates, they'd just answer the phone. I dial it up and I hear panicked shuffles followed by someone picking up the phone and immediately hanging it up.
So that wasn't good. I figured at this point, we were probably getting robbed. The problem now is that it is DEAD quiet. I can hear each and every footstep. So I feel like if I call the cops, he may hear me in my room. Not wanting to be bumrushed by a crazed madman, I decide to load up the ole trusty AIM and see if one of my equally shitty sleep-habited friends is still awake. And luckily for me, one was!
I tell him the situation and he decides to call the landline. This time the thief picks up and leaves the phone off the hook. He's learning. Also at no point was this guy wondering why we were getting flooded with calls at 4AM.
So I tell my friend to call the police and send them over here. Apparently cops aren't all CSI/Law & Order dudes you see on TV, because they didn't believe my friend and took ages to actually send a patrol car. After another 25 minutes went by, I was fairly certain the thief was gone and we missed our chance to catch him. But then my AIM friend tells me that the cops are in my neighborhood and they've apprehended someone, and they wanted me to come outside. I walk about a block away and they have the thief, who was manually dragging each piece of stolen goods up the block, street by street. This guy sucked at thieving.
In the end, my roommates and I ended up getting all our stuff back, and then very quickly moved out of that neighborhood.
Thank you internet for rescuing my iPod Nano.