9
akshar
19d

Long long time ago when recharge coupons we a thing, I used to try out more codes in the series and waste my time. After failing a lot over this, I started trying out different USSD codes to see what other stuff is out there. This got me to stumble upon facebook and twitter on USSD. I'm not sure now but, twitter was probably *515# from my carrier.

Facebook. I remember chatting for quite a long period using this. Very slow and limited yet, fun. The USSD message expires within ~60secs. so you have to type the chat message before that or you lose everything you typed. The phone was no smartphone that would allow me to copy the text from the USSD input. On top of that panic, was a character limit to these messages. I remember hitting send while being midway through a message just so I don't lose what I typed, on a T-9 keyboard. Still miss those!

The person on the other side would receive a half message due to this, and would start replying without any patience, to which I panicked as now there's a new thing to respond to, and a half message which I'm waiting to complete.

Later over the weekend when I was allowed to visit the cyber cafe for an hour or two with 15-30 INR, reading the chat threads, being able to use the five sticker packs:) and thus continuing on a computer was fun. But, as the time at the cafe expires, I had to immediately shut off my session or I'd be charged more. Thus, I was left in the middle of a conversation again, and had to continue over USSD.

Using social media without any internet like this was quite fun in a weird way. If I get a new message, I'd get a USSD alert, and then an sms if I didn't reply in some 10-15mins!

This had all the features like like and comment. Friend requests too. For the posts in a "timeline" which was new and fancy in those days, all you see is the caption of a post which also gets truncated quite a bit as USSD also has to show it's options like:
1. Like
2. Comment
3. Next Post
4. Main Menu

This was around '13 or '14 I guess. After which I later got my first computer- a laptop. Anyways, the tactile feel of pressing the buttons on a T-9 keypad is nostalgic to me. 😅 And if you were a pro at texting, u must hv used shrtcts lyk dis too w/ emojis lyk :-) <3

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