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Watch: TV Hosts Are Baffled By The Internet In This Throwback Clip


Way back in the olden days of 1994, if you were already surfing the web you were probably using Netscape Navigator on your family's AOL subscription.

Which is a nice way of saying you were a big nerd.

I don't know what the "internet" is, but it looks painful.Time

The worldwide web was gaining popularity fast, but judging by these reactions from The Today Show, it wasn't exactly mainstream just yet. After the hosts try their best to work out how exactly you pronounce "@," Bryant Gumbel vents his frustration over the newfangled technology.

"What is the internet anyway?" he asks. "What, do you write to it like mail?"

This is all too advanced for me.NBC

Katie Couric admits she's skeptical in these throwback clips shared by NBC, but also says if she ever got online she would be "hooked" and probably ignore her family.

Okay, we can all relate to that.

Even Bill Gates struggles to sell the internet, dropping in to assure Tom Brokaw that it's "very hip" to be online.

But as you may remember, the Today hosts weren't the only ones struggling to wrap their minds around the internet in the '90s.

As more and more people were going online in the '90s, there was a small industry devoted to answering Gumbel's question: what is the internet anyway?

As far as we could tell, it looked pretty radical.

That's not a very ergonomic typing position. Scholastic

Even celebrities were recruited to help guide the millions of new computer users through the honeymoon period. We're not sure if Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry were really qualified to host a video-course on Windows 95, but they certainly gave us our money's worth.

And while we just wanted to use AIM to chat with our friends, grown-ups were trying to figure out how to make money, find love, or unite the world using the incredible power of the internet.

As you can (kind of) tell from these totally bizarre stock photos from the '90s.

Guanren / Imgur

If you can understand what's going on in that last image, please don't spoil the mystery for the rest of us.

It's fun to look back at our former selves and have a laugh at how clueless we used to be about technology that changed our lives. But the truth is the internet was never about connecting with people around the world, e-commerce, or creating a global network of shared information.

It was really meant to look at funny cat pictures.


Do you remember the first time you used the internet?