Photos of Time Before The Invention of That Grossly Antisocial Device: The Smartphone

We’ve all heard our parents say it: “Look up from your phone every once in a while”, “Hey, talk to me don’t text”, “Why are you being so anti-social on your phone?” They claim that in the good old days everything was different…

Vintage subway photo.

People reading newspapers.

JFK assassination reported by newspapers.

People reading morning newspapers.

Vintage photo of people reading the newspapers.

Older generations were SO antisocial OMG!

Life before smartphones.

Good old days before iPhones.

At least they are not using antisocial smartphones!

At least they're not looking at their phones, right?

Getting the news in the old days.

Good old days before iPhones.

Real human interaction.

At least they are not using smartphones, right?

Good old days when people really talked with each other.

Those great days before smartphones...

The good old days before evil smartphones.

Don't you miss the old days before smartphones ruined human interaction?

27 thoughts on “Photos of Time Before The Invention of That Grossly Antisocial Device: The Smartphone”

  1. Sorry but this doesn’t really prove anything about the ‘good old days’ before cell phones. People are not usually social on the Subway. I don’t see any photos of people sitting around the dinner table or at a bar or nice restaurant. There is one that’s at a diner or something, but there are people there actually being social by sharing a newspaper.

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  2. What these photos show is what people do when they are not interested in talking to others before the invention of the cell phone. People do similar things now with the addition of surfing the internet on your phone. The only difference is that back then, when you wanted to talk to someone, you physically talked to them in person, or called them on your phone. Now, so many people text instead of talking. It’s convenient in some ways, but it takes away from the emotion and expression behind in-person interaction. In other words, you text and you’re only getting half the story.

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  3. Sorry but this doesn’t really prove anything about the ‘good old days’ before cell phones. People are not usually social on the Subway. I don’t see any photos of people sitting around the dinner table or at a bar or nice restaurant. There is one that’s at a diner or something, but there are people there actually being social by sharing a newspaper.

    ^Ridiculous.

  4. Notice how many of those pictures feature newspapers with MAJOR HEADLINE EVENTS (like the president’s assassination) where of course everyone was going to be glued to the page. But in general, most people don’t want to talk to strangers, that hasn’t changed. Show me “olden days” pictures of families ignoring each other at the dinner table, or couples ignoring each other on dates, or people multitasking while at the theater or watching TV…Oh wait, I don’t think that was the norm until recently…

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  5. Notice the headlines. These photos were largely taken on days of momentous news, when EVERYONE was reading the paper. Today, we are constantly entranced by our phones, but usually it’s about inane cat memes.

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  6. Ian had a look and it reminded him of catching red trains home and people reading theot newspapers, falling asleep and counting the stops in their sleep and getting off at the right station like a robot

  7. There is a much more sinister implication in these photos. Namely, look how many thin people there are. What happened to them all? I suspect McDonald’s has been kidnapping skinny folks and making them into Big Macs. I have no proof of this, but isn’t it obvious?

  8. It’s nice how you can read the news on your phone now without having to open out a newspaper into everyone else’s space.

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  9. My conclusion: People dressed (a lot) better, had better posture, didn’t try to take up multiple seats on the subway.

  10. Notice how the people are reading newspapers. News. Not playing candy crush, instagramming their lips/meals/dog/boyfried. They are interested in the world that is larger than their ego.

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  11. What it does prove is that a lot of people shouldn’t be following these posts. It’s call Sad & Useless for a reason.

  12. Well, if you watch a typical family, usually the “breakfast” includes either or both the parents reading a newspaper while eating…So it show that actually it is a psychological need there to be fulfilled and what needs to actually be fulfilled is to “recharge” by isolating yourself for some moments…and if you can’t find anywhere to have total isolation, you will build a boundary by looking at your phone or reading a newspaper

  13. Also, most of the posts/articles talking about the “antisocial usage of smartphones”, so similar images which are not from families or other “inner circles”, they so people out in the public, usually alone, so this can also be a counter argument to this madness of “smartphones make us antisocial”

  14. Anbody else notice a lot of the photos were taking when a president or king died if they were not adds for tights

  15. Why are there no pictures of families sitting at the dinner table all reading in the olden days? Because nobody had a cellphones to snap a picture. Mom was busy cooking or cleaning, Dad was reading the main news section. Sister was reading the leisure section. Brother was completing the crosswords and I was reading the comics. People weren’t better in the olden days just because we want to remember them that way.

  16. Cherry picking some situations where people remain “isolated” by information artifacts (papers or IT) does little favor to really argue for our inter-generational changes. These images show lights on a similar reality, but the complex relationship between this type of “isolation” and the way we engage in society is tricky. Readers here are actually being active members of society as they inform about relevant events and news. Today, we stay engaged and become active members as we successfully use smartphones or other devices. Don’t take this as conclusive evidence, it is not. But there is still important lights on our relationship with information and the balance with other behaviors like socializing in a natural way.

    Some points for consideration:
    1) Reading the writings of another human is basic communication, a social act. So, as we are social today by interacting digitally, humans were also social when investing time on knowing about their society and happenings to others.
    2) As it has been pointed here in the comments, other factors or settings should be considered when comparing time periods, and this is not systematic evidence nor it wants to be (This is a silly page that acknowledges its uselessness).
    3) Nothing is black and white, there are degrees. How much time we spent in reading newspapers and how much we thus disconnect with others around us is a critical matter.

  17. OMG…Women use to wear tight spandex under their dress, not like today exposing every groove on the lower body, than got the nerve to say that feel comfortable wearing it.

  18. Damn, that’s a lot of triggered boomers. “They didn’t ignore each other at the table!” Nah, the wife just hung out with a black eye while her homosexual kid lived in fear of what they are lmao

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