Back in the early days of the internet, we were some of the first people to use it as a creative and expressive tool. Some sites were simple, with plain colors and a set of plain links and clipart. Some of us embeded midis on our pages. As time went on, designs got more advanced. We coded our layouts in complex framesets and tables. The only CSS anyone knew was how to change link colors and scrollbars in IE. Internet Explorer was the browser of choice everything else sucked, especially Netscape. Blogs were like lists of links and completely not personal at all. Instead, we had a journal or diary. There were no scripts around, just sites like Diaryland and Pitas. There was also Blogger, which let you blog on your own site. Then along came Greymatter, which was THE blogging script to use!
Nobody cared about code validation. We just wanted to make things look pretty. We typed in tiny text, put our sites in popup windows. DHTML scrollers and Chromeless popups were all the rage. Nobody knew how to use blend modes, but we used scanlines and grid patterns on everything and it was cool. We networked through signing guestbooks and posting journal comments. Our ultimate goal? Getting hosted! To be hosted by someone rich enough to own a domain and pay for hosting service (it was expensive back then) meant you were elite and just awesome... especially if you were hosted on a .nu domain.
Do you remember?
- the days before Geocities was owned by Yahoo?
- When freeservers didn't have annoying popups and banner advertisements?
- The Expages fad?
- Girly hosts like chickpages and gurlpages?
- Zines? Did you own or write for one?
- Teenyboppers wHo TyPeD iN StIcKy CaPz oN eVeRy PaYgE of DyRe SyTe?
- When buying a domain was $25 or more a year for .com, .net, .org?
- WS_FTP LE and it's various sounds?
- Made with Notepad.
- Internet Explorer was the bestest browser ever?
- Server-side includes seemed revolutionary.
- PHP was used for includes only, and you were COOL for having .php extentions.
- Perl (.cgi) scripts were all the rage.
- Waiting as Greymatter updated all your entries when you changed layouts.
- Megabook was the awesome guestbook. Otherwise you used dreambook.
- Me, You, WWW and other variations.
- Putting all your content in brightly colored dropdown menus.
- The little rainbow sitemeter box.
- Splash pages with a list of requirements.
- Elite cliques like Wormie Mafia and Woogoo?
The Impact of Social Networking
Not long ago, I was thinking about how things on the great series of tubes have changed over the years. As more and more people have gotten on the bandwagon of using the internet and wanting to express themselves (but sadly, weren't savvy or in some cases, SMRT enough to learn HTML), there became a rise in easy to update services that bring people together and keep others updated. These days, you don't see as many personal sites and collectives as you did way back when. People are opting to go the route of social networking instead of taking the time to run and maintain a site. That's great and all. But what of the decline in meaningful personal content? When you had your own website that you poured hours into coding and designing, you had something that was all yours. You were free to express yourself completely and fully, without limitation. Social networking sites have their uses, and are great for keeping in touch and connecting people. However, coming from a long history of making my own space on the internet, I'm left wanting. Not to mention, many of these sites can be extremely invasive when it comes to personal privacy. It doesn't have to be that way with your own site, except perhaps when providing whois information.