Highkey Nostalgia: Wattpad Then Vs. Now

I love a good blast from the past, don’t y’all?

Well, today I thought we’d take a trip down the good ol’ memory lane… the memory lane of Wattpad.com. Because, yep, like so many other authors out there, I actually got my start on Wattpad back in the day. Although my career wasn’t picked up by the Wattpad Books publishing label and my Wattpad stories weren’t turned into blockbuster films or anything (totally, ahem, NOT salty about that, by the way… for the most part…), I do call Wattpad my OG home for writing. I was self-publishing there when I was just a kid in high school, long before I started self-publishing for “real” elsewhere.

And, now, I know a lot of other authors once used the Wattpad site, and some even still use it now, so I wanted to do a photo-heavy deep-dive of what Wattpad looked like when I was using it versus how it looks right now!

To do this, I will be using online tools like the popular “Wayback Machine”, also known as web.archive.org. This website is really fun to play around with, especially if you’ve never heard of it before, and you basically use it to look up “screenshots” of websites from years past; I’ve even used the Wayback Machine to take screenshots of my own website here (KariLynnM.com) over the years to make sure I can look back on them in the future.

Although the official Wayback Machine can exclude some big-name websites from their archives, Wattpad unfortunately being one of them (thanks a lot, Wattpad…), there are some similar tools like wayback.archive-it.org and screenshots of Wattpad from older blog posts that I’m going to be using here today; I’ll link to the image sources in each caption so you can explore for yourself!

Note that all of these pictures will be of the Wattpad.com desktop site then versus now and not the app. This is because, you know, the Wattpad app wasn’t actually launched until circa-2009, and back then it was only for early iPhones, Blackberrys (like the one I still have; hush!), and Nokias.

Okay, now… let’s dive.

First, Wattpad 2017 Versus 2022

Let’s start out with some not-so-crazy contrasts. Here’s the homepage of Wattpad in 2017 versus the homepage as of the writing of this post in April 2022…

What a beautiful side-by-side…

Well, I think 2017 Wattpad isn’t too far changed from Wattpad 2022, though the Wattpad logo was definitely changed somewhere in there from the blocky name to just the orange W. I can also notice between these two images the inclusion of the mobile phone on the 2022 homepage, which could have probably been added in 2017 as well, but I think Wattpad has been moving toward a more mobile and app-focused network recently just because, you know, the whole world is moving in that direction!

Nothing wrong with desktop use because… well, I still use my laptop for basically everything, including the writing of this post, but this is just a trend to notice. And we’ll definitely notice that the next few screenshots will not be so mobile-friendly because, you know, smartphones were toddlers in 2012 and infants in 2010!

Wattpad 2014 Versus 2022

Okay, so… I had to actually sign into my Wattpad account for the first time in, I think, 3 years to get this second screenshot below, but here’s a comparison of the writing editor from 2014 to 2022.

Now, I don’t actually remember using the writing editor much because I usually wrote elsewhere and then copy and pasted my work into Wattpad… but, still, that side-by-side is interesting. It actually seems that the editor is, dare I say, much simpler now.

Wattpad 2012 Versus 2022

Now, this first screenshot may be from either 2011 or 2012 because it shows either the Watty Award winners or contestants for 2011, and I can’t really tell which they are. But, in any case, you can trust this was the Wattpad look back then, and I added some side-by-sides of the Watty Award page from 2021/2022 for comparison.

Yeah, definitely a lot more hype about the Wattys now! Ah, I remember entering those award shows every year… and then never winning or even coming close once… true memories, you guys, really.

Also note that the shot on the left includes arrows for book browsing when it came to the awards while the two on the right are taken from a long-scrolling page built for desktop, tablet, and mobile use. Not sure how that website on the left would have even looked on a mobile screen… perhaps it was one of those pinch-and-zoom deals to read all that text; ah, so many memories!!!

Wattpad 2010 Versus 2022

Okay, now this is going to give me major flashback vibes, if that’s even a thing, because 2010 was probably my peak time on Wattpad.

Here’s a side-by-side of what I think is the “What’s Hot” page on Wattpad in 2010 versus the Paid Stories section in 2022.

Okay, looking at those… whoa.

For one thing, there is no “What’s Hot” page in 2022, and there was certainly no Paid Stories section in 2010; that’s all completely different in itself! And let’s not even mention that extremely upgraded HTML… I mean, that picture on the left is 100% typical programming in 2010. I love those tabs that underline when you hover on them–remember that?

And the Finale: Wattpad 2007

We’re not even going to do a side-by-side on this one. Wattpad was launched in 2007, and we need to honor its origins without comparison!

So, buckle up kid-os, here we go.

Now, wow. Just wow.

Although… with the appearance of the flip-phone, perhaps Wattpad was actually mobile-friendly all along. And that’s something I did not know, so… I guess I learned something here today.

And, of course, I hope you learned something here today as well! Even if you end up reading this post in, like, 2032… and, by then, I’ll probably have to do an updated version on the next 10+ years on Wattpad.com, assuming it’s still around by then. But who knows!

Let me know which screenshot(s) is/are your favorite(s), and also be sure to let me know if I should do a similar post looking nostalgically back on another reading or writing platform. Wattpad was, of course, my go-to back in the day, but we could also look at things like the WordPress blogging editor (which my blogging friends will be familiar with, I’m sure) or some other platform that maybe I haven’t even heard of yet. Leave a comment for me, homedogs!

Until next time…

–Kari 💻

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