The Social Media of the 90’s in Pakistan

3 min


Today in the age of Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat and such you just need to know a person’s name and the internet will tell you all about their likes, dislikes, background, how they look, etc., but back in the 90’s when internet was a new phenomenon in Pakistan virtual life was more fantastical. There were no pictures you could stalk and not even real names. Conversations with just words and creating art out of symbols was oh-so-cool.

Millennials will not understand the dial-up system that worked with phonelines. Which means if you are on the internet and someone picked up the receiver – instant disconnect. That wretched sound that was so dear to us 90’s kids was the stuff tortures in G-bay are made of. There was not much variety, and we were still happy. We are the generation who started netlish with ‘brb’, ‘lol’, ‘gtg’ and ‘a/s/l’ (the last one did not stand the test of time)


A place where you could be anyone you wanted. A little like Facebook where the life you show is not the life you are living, but more basic. The usernames were made up and so you could adorn any identity. There were no profiles, so you couldn’t stalk a person’s background. This is the place where most of what we currently recognise as chat emotions were created like all caps means you are shouting (you are welcome millennials).

mIRC had many chatrooms dedicated to different interest and if it didn’t exist you could make one of your own and invite people. Kind of life Facebook groups without pictures.

Jarring to look at now, but this was lit back then

MSN Messenger:

This was more private to a degree. Anyone you added would know your email ID so would know you, only email IDs in those days were like a book title written by a dysfunctional human –,, I can go on but I don’t want to.

Pinging was a thing. If no one is replying you ‘ping’ them and their chat window vibrates. Yes, that is how we demanded attention, not by putting long as statuses that mean jack all. The coolest feature it had was show the song playing on your compute as your status. Oh and animated stickers that broke the fourth wall!


The notification sound was this was ‘uh-oh!’ and was the best sound you heard when you were chatting with someone, ahem. You could find people here through location, age group, and gender.

Google Talk

Our first Whatapp app because GTalk had a feature of making calls – such a rad idea of the time (yes, rad as in lit). It has now been converted to Hangouts, but this was the first IM that we could access from our not-so-smart phones back then aka Blackberry.

There were a few more that were there like Yahoo Messenger, AOl, MySpaceIm and the geeks used all of them with time and all of these still exist, btw. The dial in though thankfully has exited our lives for good and we thank God enough for that!

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Gulabo wields the sword of communication, branding, and marketing. She is an expert in judging and analysing the dos, don'ts and how-tos. She occasionally likes to make sense too.