It was a simpler time. Moviegoers lined up to see “Titanic.” Radios blared Hansen’s “MMMBop.” This fall’s incoming high school seniors were probably just born.
So much of life in 1997 was good. The internet was hardly a part of that. Five years before the advent of Friendster, social networking as we know it was just a twinkle in a 16-year-old Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.
But if you’re curious as to what it would have looked like to stalk friends, pin DIY crafts, and share cat videos in 1997 look no further. Artists and husband and wife duo Dragan Espenschied and Olia Lialina dialed back the clocks on some of 2014’s most popular social sites.
The project, called “Once Upon,” even features a link to download Netscape Navigator 4.03. No matter what, the site is set to load no faster than 8Kbps, or “dial-up” speed.
The world’s most famous social network, Facebook, seems like it would be perfect to update your 1997 friends with your 1997 status.
Espenschied and Lialina’s version is also a little more customisable than Zuckerberg’s thanks to some old-school draggable borders.
A classic curtain backdrop for a site that’s all about watching videos. Get it? Once Upon’s version of the video-sharing site allows users to upload their own videos through FTP. The longest video on 1997 YouTube is 24 seconds long.
Considering Google+ is hardly popular in 2014, the 1997 version looks comparably appealing.
While modern-day Google+ revolves around “Circles,” 1997 Google+ is seemingly built on squares.
Espenschied and Lialina describe their version of Pinterest like this: “This is a great place where you can collect images you found on the World Wide Web. It is like your own home page, but on Pinterest your every picture will have beautiful borders.”
And wow, look at those borders. This pre-Y2K build of the popular social pinning site lets users register a profile and upload photos from around the web, not unlike the real thing.