Christina Wolfgram
July 14, 2015 1:00 pm

Imagine a world without Internet. Maybe the apocalypse is nigh or Comcast isn’t returning your calls – who knows? But imagine a world without Internet … where you have to write a paper.

Gah. Where would you find the information? How could you survive without Wikipedia? Without Sparknotes?!

The Fine Bros investigated this conundrum in their most recent episode of “Teens React.” They handed a group of witty teens an entire series of encyclopedias, A-Z, and hilarity ensued. When asked what encyclopedias are, most of the participants weren’t 100% sure.

“It like tells you about stuff,” one girl said.

“It’s like a dictionary for different stuff,” one lad in a hat added.

One guy finally nailed it: “It’s the Internet in books.”

The group was overwhelmed by how many volumes there were. Even just to look up the term “reading,” the teens flipped through multiple books before realizing they are in alphabetical order. Most agreed that the Internet is way more accessible, since all you have to do is type in your search term to find hundreds of relevant links.

One girl decided to check if “unicorns” were included in encyclopedias and wasn’t disappointed. However, when another guy looked up “YouTube,” he found nothing because these encyclopedias were printed in 2005, before YouTube was a thing. That means that if anyone looked up Pluto in these versions, it would say that it’s still a plant – awkward. The Fine Bros revealed that people used to update their encyclopedia collection every few years (kind of like refreshing your browser, only with the cost of shipping and handling). The teens were cool with this until they figured out how much a new collection of encyclopedias cost: $2,000!

There is one major benefit to printed knowledge, though. “This stuff has been proven,” said one participant. “It’s in here because it’s true.” That’s not always the case on the world wide web: Public sites like Wikipedia can be updated by anyone with WIFI. Internet information isn’t always factual information. Plus, there’s a serious satisfaction that comes from combing through an encyclopedia, as demonstrated below.

Encyclopedia Britannica has been printed since 1768, but is now in the process of only existing online. In fact, The Fine Bros explained, the future of the printed word is headed in the same direction: These teens may be the last generation to read from an actual book. This was eye-opening for teens who’d just said the Internet was easier to use than books.

One girl pretty much summed up all our feelings about this development: “There’s something about physically turning the pages and being able to smell the book and feel the book that is definitely not upheld within the digital world.” Yasssss. Preach!

What do you think about information only existing within the Internet? Check out the full video here.

(Images via herehereherehereherehere, and here.)

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