In Tales of the Early Internet, Mashable explores online life through 2007 — back before social media and the smartphone changed everything.
“The future is here, it’s just unevenly distributed,” William Gibson famously wrote in 2003. With the benefit of 2020 hindsight, we can add this about the era he was describing: the future was also unevenly believed. Even when it was right in front of us, we couldn’t see it through our assumptions. This was especially true of the things we were most passionate about.
Everyone who was extremely online back in the late 1990s and early 2000s lost themselves to some new obsession when we got our first high-speed internet connection at home. Often it was an obsession that seemed somewhat illicit at the time, and utterly quaint now. For me, as for millions, that obsession was music — and acquiring it on Napster.
This was spring of