Many people have heard of Video Professor. They ran commercials on cable TV channels and on late-night programming throughout the nineties. I recall seeing the commercials and laughing at some of the concepts. In the mid-nineties, I was already “online” most days. So a lot of the concepts in videos like Learn to use the Internet seemed comically simple.
Now I wish I had watched them back then because it would add a nice layer of nostalgia to my appreciation of them. And I do appreciate them. Why? Because they capture a wonderful moment in time. An era before the internet became ubiquitous and before slick video production would become commonplace.
Watching this now, I am struck by how information-packed this 46-minute video is. It walks you through concepts and ideas that were new to people at the time. While at the same time gives you practical advice on using the internet through Prodigy.
We learn not only the hows and whys of getting online but what to do once you do. From email to emojis and from auto-updates to Yahoo! It is all covered in this simple video.
If you happened to be around during this time in the internet’s history, you will find this a fun trip back in time. When blue links lead to mysterious and unpredictable places and images were few and far between. This was the internet where I saw a possible career for myself, so watching this walk-through takes me back to a time when each click of the mouse shined a light on all the potential for this burgeoning technology.
I read that Video Professor had some legal issues in their later years. Some of them well into the new millennium. Which is shocking to me, I don’t recall seeing their ads after the nineties ended, but I guess they did. Seems like the business took a dark turn at some point before disappearing.
Now I feel guilty about my negative feelings towards Video Professor in the nineties. I don’t know much about their later products, but this video is a wonderful set of instructions for early users of the web. Without videos like these, how many people would have never gotten online in the early days? So a big thanks to Video Professor for being a cheerleader and educator of this technology I love so much.