Nostalgic-af essay on the late 90s personal internet.
I won’t lie, this—plus all the other Old Web Nostalgia that’s been going around recently—made me go on an archive.org hunt for what I remember of the Web That Was. I found it in fragments. Half-broken museum pieces of the sites I remember (muted.com, impolite.org, taintedweb). Some sites online but frozen in time (#!/usr/bin/girl). Some still online and moved on (Furious Angel, Jemjabella, Loobylu, Ladybot). And then some I can’t find at all (six.nu, what happened to you?).
One of the things that gets to me, though—asides from how young we all were—was how little some things have changed, even when it seems everything has. Like, a lot of Tumblr fandom now seems like a retread of the early-to-mid ’00s personal internet (hell, even some of the the aesthetic is starting to feel creepingly familiar), except nowadays instead of whether or not your site is valid XHTML and rag-right aligned, all the drama and pileons are about whether or not someone’s Steven Universe headcanons pass the purity test. Different content, same tiny font. All it needs is for someone to bring back webrings…1
- Seriously, please. Someone bring back webrings. Webrings were great! ↩