An appreciation for the glittering emo wasteland the internet once was.

So finally exists! I haven’t had a proper website in years, which is funny since I was probably one of the first people I knew who had one. I started building websites when I was 15. My Kids in the Hall and Star Trek Angelfire fan sites are probably still out there somewhere embarrassing themselves. But I’m a quick learner. I actually spent a lot of time in high school learning to code. You know, back when it was HTML and Javascript and… *shudder*… iframes. When you had to, like, tell people what kind of browser they could use that was compatible with your site. I had a pirated CD with Photoshop and Flash that I bought from a street vender abroad, a possession I prized greatly despite it being half in Arabic. I maintained a personal site turned art portfolio from high school and into my mid-twenties. Redoing my website was sort of like moving the furniture around, it was just a thing you did to liven up your space, it was an evolving thing. It was a creative outlet. It was an aesthetic expression. It was art! I loved it.

The personal websites of Ye Old Internet were fun and unique. Web design was personal. Graphic design was something you had to get good at because before programs made advanced scripts accessible to amateurs, most of your layout was made in photoshop. Now it’s easy for anyone to buy a WordPress theme or a Wix and create a generic and functional site, plugging in content and outputting something that looks professional but impersonal. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, but I do miss the pre-Wordpress days when everything on the internet wasn’t clean and and white and bland. Getting this site up and running was necessary and overdue, but it’s gone from being a hobby to a pain the ass.

I totally realize I sound old af reminiscing about the “good old internet days.” But that was the internet I grew up with. As a socially awkward, depressive high schooler with no real life friends, the internet saved me. It gave me a place to exist and a way to interact with humans without having to actually interact. Things were different before Facebook made the personal blog and website obsolete. People interacted with a cautious anonymity that turned the cyber void into a massive confessional where you could bare your soul to strangers and you weren’t afraid to post your shitty poetry on the internet because social media and cyber stalking weren’t buzzwords and strangers who commented on your blog were more like benevolent mentors, not trolls threatening to rape you or telling you to kill yourself. It was still just a few people passing like ships in the night, where we all built and reigned in digital castles, where we could be seen as we wished to be seen, where we weren’t trying to connect with people we already knew, but trying to reach for something bigger and farther away.

A fucking simpler time.

I think my love affair with the internet ended once it started getting dull and scary at once. Maybe it also ended because I finally learned how to make friends and leave my room. Either way, it’s just not the same.

Anyhow, all this nostalgic pontificating started because the process of building this site necessitated me going through a lot of old drives looking for images. I came across a file of graphics and layouts I created for my old and dear site, Not all of these are particularly good, but there was something about the old way of design that created a mood and a space, sort of like a digital form of interior design. I suppose the day of the agenda-less personal website is over now that social media and monetized blogging have taken over, but I do miss how websites use to be a real space, a real look into people’s lives on a level that was genuinely personal, not just ostentatious or political or enterprising. Hell, apparently at one point I thought me naked holding a canvas would make a great splash page. You don’t get much more personal than that. Now with my safe and professionally prosaic site up and running, I can look back on these early efforts with an appreciation for the glittering emo wasteland the internet once. Enjoy.

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