Ah, 1984, what a time to be alive.
The CD-ROM was just invented, the Apple Macintosh was launched, Tetris made its debut, and contrary to George Orwell’s predictions in his book “1984,” it was business as usual for the world.
1984 was also a time when email and the internet was in its infancy, and people were just starting to use them in the mainstream.
Thankfully, British television channel “Thames TV” documented how 1984 techies Julian and Pat Green sent and received emails back in the day in a program called “Database,” and uploaded the experience to YouTube.
Follow the Green family in its journey to connect to the internet and send an email:
Before sending an email in 1984, you first had to connect to the internet. Sounds simple enough now, but not so much in 1984…
You first needed to hook up the phone line to the modem, and then connect the modem to the computer:
Then, you needed to call your computer with a phone.
It’s “extremely simple,” according to Julian Green.
Once you got a dial tone, you would just flick a switch on the modem.
And that’s when “things” were “starting to happen.”
And just like that, you were connected to the internet!
The Greens connected to the Micronet 800 service, which was a sort of online magazine that provided news, software reviews, as well as “electronic mail” services.
Beep beep boop, indeed.
Once you were connected to the internet, you could finally write your email. But there were no email addresses back then as we know them today.
In 1984, your email address was a series of numbers and letters. In this case, Database’s email address was “7776a.”
The message reads: “Best wishes to all the Database Team. Electronically yours, The Green Family.”
And just like that, your email’s recipient would get the email on their computer.