How did things work before smartphones?

By: Annette

How did you shine some light in the darkness?

Remember flashlights? And candles? These were all ways of creating light in the darkness. We could all benefit from more candlelight. . .

How did you duplicate a document?

Remember scanner? They still exist, but these days, it's so easy to just take a picture of a document on your phone and send it right away!

How did folks check the local traffic?

People actually listened to the radio for traffic announcements. A real person would report on the traffic, in real time.

How did people know what time it was?

Both consulting a watch and looking at the sun did the trick.

How did folks know North from South, and East from West?

People actually used to be guided by starlight! But in more modern times, they used a compass. This device can now be found on your​ phone.

How did you remember someone's address and phone number?

Yes, people did all of these things. Remember address books? They were so cool!

How did people communicate quickly while camping, hiking, and riding bikes?

Remember walkie talkies?! They made it so easy to talk to someone from a short distance away. And they were just seriously cool.

What would you do if you had car trouble?

You had to physically walk to a payphone, or you asked someone nearby to help out.

What would you do when boredom hit?

Yes, boredom happens. But people used to deal with it. Or they'd play a board game.

How did people look up a song title or movie actor?

Yes, people had to wait to get home to look things up. Books were even used as references. Real books.

How did truck drivers and police officers communicate?

Truck drivers used to dispatch messages over the radio, as did police officers. Sometimes they could pick up other frequencies and hear other conversations​!

How did you play games with friends?

Boardgames are nearly extinct, and now you can play games with your friends instantly on your phone. But there should be boardgames again! They brought people​ together.

What was event ticketing like before smartphones?

Travel agents used to set up all these arrangements. That's a whole profession that is barely viable today!

How would you check the weather?

Yes, people would listen to the radio or consult the local news. This was just as iffy as the phone is now.

How would you deposit a check?

You actually physically went to the bank. You stood in line. You got a free lollipop.

Where did you put your photos?!

Actual physical photos were put where people could see them, and they were stored carefully.

How did folks used to video chat?

You used webcams on your computer, but before then, you could make a video for a friend and send the VHS or DVD by mail! That's pretty time-consuming.

How did you find someone's phone number?

There were phone books​ that had multiple names and numbers! Phone books were also used as booster seats and as kindling.

What was a guitar tuner?

The handy little device would be carried in a guitar case. These days, you can easily find this feature on your phone.

How did you use to end a meeting with​ a potential business partner?

The business card is long gone, but remember those cool business card organizers? So classy.

How did you speak to someone before text messaging?

To speak to someone immediately, you either had to find them or call them and wait for a response. People would actually wait in phone booths.

How did you take a selfie?

Often, your thumb would be over the lens, or you'd cut off half your head.

How did you share selfies with people?

You had to show someone a physical picture. It meant that you had to meet someone in person.

How did you add and subtract numbers?

The calculators on our phones are pretty handy, but in the past there was a separate little machine for that! Or your brain.

How did you track your fitness?

Fitness and weight would be tracked by a specialist, or you'd write the info down yourself. No apps.

What were the primary ways people would advertise?

Advertising often came in paper form. Newspapers were actually delivered to the house each day.

How did you make voice recordings?

Dictation machines used cassette tapes to record. Cassette tapes!

What was a Rolodex?

Not to be confused with a Rolex watch, the Rolodex​ held business cards and contact information. It sat on one's desk.

What was a DayRunner?

A DayRunner was one's personal planner. It was a book that had calendars for each week, contact information, and notes.

How did people listen to music?

There were plenty of ways to listen to music. Even in a car or on a train!

How did you escape people that you didn't like?

Before smart phones, you could simply avoid people. These days, you can't escape.

Which of these will be reduced or replaced in the future by cell phones?

Phones have already replaced so much, and this trend with simply continue! Goodbye, car keys:)

How did you shop with the press of a button?

You simply couldn't purchase something so quickly. You had to step into a store or order from a paper catalog!

How did you talk to your grandmother?

You couldn't call your grandmother on your cell, and you couldn't chat with her on Facebook.

How did you network?

Networking used to involve actually meeting with people and getting to know them!

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Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Oh, smartphones. What would we do without them? They're an integral part of life, but do you know what life was like back in the good ol' days? We'll test your knowledge of how people once did simple things. Prepare to be amazed. Actual paper was involved!

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