Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

How did young people communicate before texting was invented?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (5191 points ) 2 months ago

Just wondering you never seem to see them actually talking to each other, just texting away, so how did they communicate before texting?

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58 Answers

Seek's avatar

Texting is a good way to get messages to your friends without other people being “in on it”. Kind of like how we used to pass notes in class.

I wrote notes to my friends in Elder Futhark.
When I finally, in high school, had a teacher familiar with the old Norse runes, we inverted the runes (z became a, etc.) and wrote the runes themselves upside down.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Was it an etch a sketch?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

OH so it was codes and notes, man I’m getting old we just used to talk to each other,must show you how old I am.

Seek's avatar

Did you never find a decoder ring in your Cracker Jack boxes?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Seek Naw, I was never that lucky I always just got those lickum tattoos.

GloPro's avatar

When I was in middle school I would lie on the kitchen floor because the cord on our only house phone only stretched that far. My dad would holler at me if I stayed on the phone too long because call waiting didn’t exist yet and someone may be trying to call. I wasn’t allowed on the phone past 9pm.

When I was a sophomore we got a cordless house phone. I took it to bed with me and would fall asleep talking to my boyfriend.

It was too much of a pain in the ass to text on the first cellphones. I think I’ve been texting for about 8 years or so. I try to have important or emotional conversations in person or by phone.

kritiper's avatar

Before texting, Email. Before Email, telephone. Someday there will be no face-to-face communication at all. No humanity either.

Coloma's avatar

Good old fashioned telephone calls on rotary dial phones with party lines. This was the 60’s. Sometimes you had to wait forever for the party line party to STFU and hangup. haha

Symbeline's avatar

The phone.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@kritiper I think that about sums it up.

gondwanalon's avatar

We used smoke signal back in the 60’s.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Did anyone actually talk to each other?
I mean face to face.

GloPro's avatar

The kids are doing their fair share of smoke signaling today, too.

Symbeline's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I talked to people before the Internet and texting…still do.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Symbeline , and are you a young person or old like me?
and old I mean anything over thirty.

Seek's avatar

Haha. She’s about the same age as me, I think. Almost-thirty.

GloPro's avatar

30 is old? Gee, way to brighten our days.

jca's avatar

Calling or emailing. Before that it was calling and letter writing.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@jca so there never really was much face to face communication between young people?

Coloma's avatar

Emailing is the new form of letter writing. I exchange lengthy emails with a few friends out of the area. I enjoy writing emails.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

smoke signals

jca's avatar

Oh, with young people, I used to visit my friends when I was young, or call on phone.

Young people still hang out together. Anything that does not involve parents is where they want to be!

zenvelo's avatar

Via landlines. And I mailed letters and postcards. I sent telegrams via Western Union once in a while.

Back in the 70s I was in Germany and needed to get a message to my father in Indonesia. I used telex to cable my father. He was able to wire money through American Express to the American Express office in Rome.

ucme's avatar

Via the medium of interpretive dance & sometimes a bell.

gondwanalon's avatar

Morse Code

Paradox25's avatar

You mean before texting and social networking. Back in the ‘old’ days we generally communicated face to face, or by phone. However, even many people older than me are copying the younger generation’s habits today.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Semaphore flags or two empty cans and a string.

But seriously, we picked up the telephone and called each other. Even better, we’d make plans to get together, talk in person, and have real, actual social interactions.

rojo's avatar

Farts and tap dancing.

rojo's avatar

We used to pound on a drum or a hollow log if a drum was not available. For Long Distance smoke was the only way to go.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Old is not over thirty, It’s over 50 dammit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Phone calls. Face to face when we ran into them on the streets. Notes in class.

My sisters and I started a note thing. Someone wrote the first not, then left clues as to where in the house it was hidden. The person who found it then added to it, and hid it and left clues. Gosh…we did that for so long that it got to the point we had moved out and were mailing the note. Last I remember was sending it to my youngest sister and never saw it again after that.

rojo's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Are you kidding me! It is over 60!

Seek's avatar

I think @SQUEEKY2 hit it on the head with 30 – that being about the age limit for people to have been teenagers when texting became a thing.

filmfann's avatar

The 1950’s – 1970’s stereotype of a teenage girl had a telephone reciever glued to her ear.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And we did, too!

talljasperman's avatar

Whispering in class, passing notes.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

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Pachy's avatar

When I was a teen, the closest we came to texting was passing scribbled notes in class. Otherwise, we actually talked in person or on the telephone, which was a black thing connected by cord to a little metal box on the wall.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Back to the day when I didn’t know what a mobile phone was, the old telephone was the only way to communicate when we were apart. I had a notebook specifically for phone numbers. And at that time losing that notebook was a disaster. But the notebook wasn’t very well-organized, so there was a time when I messed up phone numbers and people were all like: “Who the heck is A?”

Today text messages have come to our life, but they haven’t dominated us. My family (and many others) still keeps our old telephone. I sometimes use the telephone when my mobile phone runs out of money or when I feel the need to pass the paying “right” to my parents :p Some old methods like passing papers and meeting face-to-face are still preserved.

jca's avatar

We used to use a phone book which now seems soooo antiquated.

The phone had a cord on it and so it required sitting in one spot to talk, which probably meant in the kitchen where everyone could hear. I remember sitting on the phone, and listening to the radio and I would be talking about the songs that came on. That was very exciting. I remember when Dr. Ruth Westheimer first had a radio show, and just the fact that she talked about sex was so exciting and like “wow!” We would laugh and laugh at the things she said.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@jca Really? You can listen to the radio with your phone?

When I was young there used to be a phone number which provided some entertainment “programs”. There were fun facts, ghost stories, fairy tales and more. If you dialed that number, you would first be greeted by a woman’s voice “Hello! Welcome to <the name> entertainment. Press 1 to listen to fun facts, press 2 to listen to music, blah blah blah.” If you pressed the number, there would be further instruction for which you would like to hear specifically. For example, you press 2, and the woman would say: “So you want to listen to music? Press 1 to listen to the most popular songs, press 2 to listen to the hottest songs…”

I really loved that number. I came there mostly for ghost stories and fun facts. But my parents were nowhere next to approve of it, saying it cost too much money. I don’t know if that number still exist now.

jca's avatar

@Mimishu1995: No, I would be talking on the phone while sitting next to the radio. The person I was talking to on the phone would be sitting next to their radio, tuned in to the same station and we’d talk about what we heard (what songs, or whatever). Then maybe one of us would change the radio station and say “I hear Hall and Oates on whatever station. Put it on!” Then we’d be on to the other station.

Symbeline's avatar

I get pretty freaked out when I hear something like ’‘meeting face to face is still preserved.’’ :/

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Symbeline Sorry. Don’t know which word to use :)

Symbeline's avatar

Nothing against what you said. :) But just to think that so many communicate from far away is odd. and really…here we all are on a forum, doing the same thing. Heh I never would have imagined all this 15 years ago.

Adagio's avatar

Telephones baby, telephones. @GloPro I totally identify with the stretched out phone cord. Of course when we were at school we talked face-to-face, incessantly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

SOME really spoiled kids had phones in their bedrooms! Thing about the telephone is, someone could pick up a line in the other part of the house and listen to your conversation…..

Aster's avatar

I would lay on my bed and talk as much as possible for as long as possible until Mrs Possible ( my mother) would order me for the fifth time to hang up. I got married after that.
Before I got my phone communication would be riding my bike to friends’ houses and/or talking during and in between classes. Oh; I forgot . I also communicated at the places with jukeboxes and Cokes while I smoked cigarettes and laughed. Those places where they hoped you’d order food but we just kept getting Cokes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When we were teens we wanted long phone cords so we could lay down on the floor, or hang upside down off of the couch while we talked for hours.
As adults we wanted long cords so we could do dishes and change diapers while we talked for hours.

Aster's avatar

”….or hang upside down off of the couch….” That sounds so painful, so dreadful, I’d rather not even use the phone!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

It wasn’t painful at all! It stretched our muscles which were cramping from sitting in one place for so long.

talljasperman's avatar

Also we met in person in the mall.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And ran into each other at the library or out on the street. We were always outside.

Adagio's avatar

@Dutchess_III ”…we talked for hours.” There was always so much to say, even if you’d just spent 6 hours in school with the person the same day, there was always something more to be said.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know. I’m trying to think of what in the hell we talked about…..and wasn’t the WORST feeling when you couldn’t get to the ringing phone before they hung up? I remember coming home from high school and the house was locked up. I was standing at the back sliding glass door and the phone, just 15 feet away, was ringing and ringing, and I was there, with my hands pressed to the door unable to reach it. Total despair. I just KNEW it was the cutest boy in school finally realizing he’d fallen in love with me, and I’d lost my one chance to find out…..his name was Brad Y, BTW, and we’re friends on FB. It wasn’t him as I found out last year. Sigh.

Seek's avatar

I never did understand that. My aunt – six years older than me – could sit on the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I actually spoke on the phone with a friend before I left high school. And it was usually five minutes of bitching about how stupid our parents were, or confirming our addresses so we could mail a handwritten letter.

jca's avatar

We would talk about boys and who was cute and who said hi to us and then we’d talk about groups (singing groups) and music.

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