my web manifesto

the following are my raw and unedited thoughts spread over a number of weeks. i add these to the page as i think them through, usually while walking my dogs. once i get to the point where i have shared all my feelings on the subject i will attempt to put some order into the chaos.

under construction

the internet used to be a huge place. netizens filled their time writing email, visiting forums, making websites, chatting on irc. they filled their bookmarks folder in their browsers with hundreds of places they enjoyed to visit across the web.

these days, the internet is smaller, reduced to a smaller number of places that people may visit every day. boring.

it's time to take it back.

why i have a homepage

i believe in taking back control, reclaiming my digital future and contribute to rebuilding a web for everybody.

i don't have a website for popularity or making money. i want to develop interesting things to write and share. i don't care if anyone reads it or not. i don't want to share on social media.

i miss the personal, do it yourself aspect of everyone having their own homepage rather than a page within a closed social media platform. the rise of these social media platforms have lead to an increasingly user-hostile web, and i don't like it.

websites and blogs these days are not organically passionate. they're just looking at ways to capitalise on any given subject, and an seo mess dilluting the usefulness of the web!

the old web

it's hard for me to pin point when or where the old web finished for me. i want to say sometime around 2010...

to me the old web was not an aesthetic, but a community, not just one community but hundreds of little communities.

sure there were websites that we lovingly slapped together html with textured backgrounds and hard to read text and enough animated gifs to bring your internet connection to your knees, but there were also a lot of really nice looking websites, remember this was a time where we were starting to figure out what we could really do on this web thing.

to me, the old web was all about having your own place on the web, lovingly crafting your homepage and tending to it over time, filling it with whatever we felt was interesting. we linked far and wide, to our favourite sites or new sites we came across that we thought were cool or interesting. we linked to each other. we didn't need a search engine to tell us where we might need to visit.

we posted useful information, information that got straight to the point. we didn't post recipes or guides with a 1000 word story on how a loaf of freshly baked bread straight out of the oven reminded us of spending summers at our grandparents farm. fuck that haha.

we were not confined to the walls of giant tech companies hostile silos of the internet.

the personal web

when i think of the web my first thoughts are of the personal web, and i smile.

the personal web is where everybody owns their own corner of cyber space where they can share what ever they want, and it is displayed how ever they want.

the personal web is not dictated by an algorithm. nor is it designed to sell you something.

however it may be designed to influence you in enjoying reading about something that brings joy to another netizen.

the medium of choice on the personal web is the personal homepage. with our own homepages we are free to choose the layout, design, graphics, fonts and colours of our homepages. it allows us to show off our personal style to the rest of the internet.

we can decide what goes where and don't care if it's beautiful or a beautiful mess.

the simple web

do you remember when you went to search the web for something, and you would often come across personal homepages, usually dedicated to a single topic, full of high quality information, created by people who absolutely loved the topic?

these days web search results are full of low quality seo'd pages full of adverts, that are not related to what you wear searching for at all. all the old high quality info sites are either non existent, lost to search algorithms as they've not been updated in a number of years, do not support https, or the valuable information is stuffed in between a useless 23 minute video!

i can't stand the videos either. they're usually long drawn out introductions, irrelevant stories about absolutely nothing, don't forget to check out our sponsor, who also sponsors every other video creator, and then if you're lucky, a couple words about the topic you were after that could have easily been communicated in a simple page of text. the videos are drawn out and created to be a certain length so that they can, monetise the videos...

don't forget to like and subscribe though!

the commercial web

the web today, social media is easy and people are lazy, or they don't know what more the web can offer them.

for the most part, facebook, twitter, instagram all make it very easy to share what's on peoples minds quickly with no setup.

which is fine. however, i don't see a too big of a difference between that and sharing the same stuff on your own personal home page, where you get to own your own content, except that the setup experience requires a few more steps than mindlessly entering every single piece of personal information.

not absolutely everything has to be monetised, hobbies can be just that, hobbies, making and sharing something doesn't need affiliate links, sponsored posts or targeted ads.

rss exists to follow those that you are interested in. however, again the setup experience rules out a lot of people who are either lazy, or don't care, want things handed to them (what's a little bit of my privacy worth for the convenience).

now, shitposts, hateposts aside, there is so much awesome content lost amongst the crap on the above platforms. like super awesome bbq tutorials stuck inside a facebook group, or super awesome info posts lost forever in someones instagram stories. outside of these platforms they're undiscoverable! even within the platforms they're undiscoverable as unless you saw the content the day it was posted its mostly lost forever in a stream of endless crap.

similar vein with blogs where the chronological post order came into play. it in the most part signified that anything dated old was no irrelevant.

our own homepages where we do have some content that is dated for various reasons isn't a big deal due to the way we are able to organise, curate and bring attention to particular pages.

i think the discoverability aspect of the web was lost during the time where blogs became means of monetisation as well as people no longer linked other blogs of similar topics as they were now the competition competing for those page views for the measly adsense cents per view.

i loved linking all my web friends sites from my own back in the day, that formed a sense of community within the communities for what ever topic your page was about that particular month.

final thought

having a personal homepage is awesome, if you don't have one already, get one!

to be continued

read more about the personal, small, and open web

have a read through the archives of my bookmark folders and pocket reading list. some absolute gems in here of others who share similar thoughts.

Ten Commandments of the Small Internet: A grassroots internet movement called "the small Internet" is afoot. Here are ten commandments that cheapskates would like to see largely obeyed on the small Internet.
I Miss the Old Internet: "I miss the internet of the early 1990's."
What I Learned about the Internet by Creating My Own Website: Here are some things Cheapskates learned about the Internet by creating their own website.
sadgirl.online internet manifesto: we, the people of the internet, have the power to restore it to its former glory.
Nostalgia is Bullshit: Web 1.0 design nostalgia. Like all nostalgia, it's bullshit.
seven reasons for having a personal website: there are at least seven reasons you should have a personal website.
The Return of the 90s Web: In big cultural concepts like music or fashion, things have a way of coming around full circle.
Making the Web Fun Again: "Ever since I visited my first web site (via a slow modem to a library BBS running a text-based web browser), I have been ceaselessly pondering the nature of the web."
The Missing Hit and the Open Web: If it doesn't appear in Google's search results, does it really exist?
Underscores, Optimization & Arms Races: A dozen years ago, the web started to reshape itself around major companies like google. We can understand the genesis of today’s algorithmic arms race against the tech titans just by looking at a single character.
the modern web is becoming an unsuable. user-hostile wasteland: the question is: at which point do we reach the breaking point?
Autonomy Online: A Case For The IndieWeb: there is an alternative to corporate bubbles online — it’s called the indieweb. build your own personal websites, control your online presence, and learn on your own terms.
A Simpler Web: "i prefer websites that are built with simple html, minimal css, and no javascript for read-only web experiences."
Hunting the Nearly-Invisible Personal Website: The personal website is a somewhat mysterious animal that lives mostly unobserved in the jungle of the Internet
ZeroNet and the Future of the Internet: until recently, the conventional wisdom was that the internet is beyond the control of governments. how naive the conventional wisdom sometimes is.
Tell HN: I miss the old internet: "this is more of a rant i guess. hackernews provides a text box, that's close enough for me."
The Rise And Fall Of Grunge Typography: The Rise And Fall Of Grunge Typography by Sharan Shetty. Hop on the nostalgia train for a second. Think back to the 90s. To Nirvana, Linklater’s Slacker, and the flannel-clad rebels on the run from the 80s. To skateboards...
Everyone Should Have Access to the Web: The World Wide Web Foundation began as a way to bring the web to everyone. In these trying times, it is needed more than ever.
When the Web Was Weird: In the late ‘90s, an obscure site called Superbad pioneered jarringly bizarre, often ugly, but occasionally beautiful web design. It’s taken all this time for the rest of the internet to catch up.
A Love Letter to Net.Art: In an interview for her book Internet Art in 2004, writer Rachel Greene had this to say about why she felt...
To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks: We need public spaces, built in the spirit of Walt Whitman, that allow us to gather, communicate, and share in something bigger than ourselves...
The Rise and Fall of Internet Art Communities: Zany, early creative communities like DeviantArt and conceptart.org have been steamrolled by homogenous social media platforms.
The year we wanted the internet to be smaller: Why tiny, weird online communities made a comeback in 2017.
Exit Feeds, Enter Community: Information floods the internet. You can't control it, but it must be controlled for you to absorb it. It is primarily controlled through infinite feeds of content on social media...
He Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World: Tim Berners-Lee wants to put people in control of their personal data. He has technology and a start-up pursuing that goal. Can he succeed?
One Startup’s Vision to Reinvent the Web for Better Privacy: Blockstack’s system would let you control your own personal data—for example, by revoking a site’s access to it...
Make your own independent website: How to make 2021 the year of the independent web....
The Organic Web: People talk about growing communities and growing brands, but does anyone talk about growing a website?
This used to be our playground: There was a time when owning digital space seemed thrilling, and our personal sites motivated us to express ourselves. There are signs of a resurgence, but too few wish to make their digital house a home...
Why can't I write code inside my browser?: So I can write code inside my spreadsheet, but not inside my browser? WTF!
The Developer's Dystopian Future: I was always a worrier, but I used to be a young worrier. Now I am not so young. I still find things to worry about. I find myself more and more concerned about my future as a developer.
It’s Time to Get Personal: Is it just me or does nobody have their own website anymore? OK, some people do. But a lot of these sites are outdated, or just a list of links to profiles on big tech platforms. Despite being people who build websites, who love to share on the web, we don’t share much on our own sites.
It’s Time to Get Personal: People who grew up with the internet of the 1990s probably remember forums — those clunky, lo-fi spaces where people came together to argue about cars, cycling, video games, cooking, or a million other topics. They had their problems, but in retrospect the internet of those days felt like a magical land of possibility, not a place for organizing pogroms.
Let's bring Fan Sites and webrings back!: In the days before the web was mainstream, it was a place of creation. First for education, then for every random idea that any creator had! As the web transitioned from a network of educational institutions to the consumer force it is today, the early adopters were technologists... AKA geeks!
What happened to the ‘old internet’? We used to have so much variety and choice – it’s all collapsed, or has it?: The internet brings the world into people’s homes, enabling people to interact with worldwide events in a way that television can’t. What's changed?
2015 is the year the old internet finally died: The old blogosphere is being eaten alive by the rise of social media and the mobile web.
There's no place like the old internet: I started using the internet when I was seven years old. In 2021, it’s not too shocking to imagine a seven year old with unrestricted access to the internet. In 1999, though… different story, different internet...
How the Blog Broke the Web: I first got online in 1993, back when the Web had a capital letter — three, in fact — and long before irony stretched its legs and unbuttoned its flannel shirt. Back when you could really say you were surfing the net...
Statistically obsessed: Measure, analyze, check your stats, take a look at the insights. Whether you are running a business website, a personal blog, a Twitter account or a Facebook page, there is someone breathing down your neck asking about the numbers...
The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet: This is also what the internet is becoming: a dark forest...
404 Page Not Found: The artifacts of internet life are personal—that is, not professionally or historically notable—and therefore worthless...
One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age: Digging through the Geocities Torrent.
The Old Internet Died And We Watched And Did Nothing: Quick: Can you think of a picture of yourself on the internet from before 2010, other than your old Facebook photos? How about something you’ve written? Maybe some old sent emails in Gmail or old Gchats?
The Decade the Internet Lost Its Joy: What began as cheerful anarchy was devoured by vulture capital and ruthless consolidation
About - Baldora Station: a perfect rant into the pitfalls of the web today, alongside some suggestions for their way forward
I miss the old internet - SFFWORLD: OP comes to the realisation that the Internet has become boring and commercialised. Sparks an interesting conversation.
A love letter to my webstie: A declaration of love for personal websites.
How GeoCities webrings made the ‘90s internet a cozier place: Believe it or not, the internet used to feel a lot cozier. In the early days of the World Wide Web, as many of us called it back then, going online was like exploring the Wild West...
Ruins and Templates of Geocities: The free web hosting service GeoCities was founded by Beverly Hills Internet in July 1995, which exactly corresponds with the moment that the web left academia and started to become accessible to everyone. Users began learning Hyper Text Markup Language, and welcomed each other onto their “home pages” — the first personal websites.
An Ode to Geocities : Geocities is likely a site you’ve heard of. It may even have been a site that you used. It’s origin, and the movement it later inspired, is an incredible story of self-expression and serendipity.
Web 0.5: A few people have already used Web 0.5 by back-construction from Web 2.0. Sean Coates used it derogatively of MySpace, but this O'Reilly blog post is more positive, suggesting Web 2.0 is a return to earlier Internet applications.
Jurassic Web: The Internet of 1996 is almost unrecognizable compared with what we have today.
Yahoo, the Destroyer: How the historic company became known as a bumbling villain of internet culture
You Probably Don’t Remember the Internet: How do we memorialize life online when it’s constantly disappearing?
How to Make a Website: wikiHow embodies an alternative history of the internet, and an interesting possibility for its future.
The People's Web: Every day, millions of people rely on independent websites that are mostly created by regular people, weren't designed as mobile apps, connect deeply to culture, and aren't run by the giant tech companies. These are a vision of not just what the web once was, but what it can be again.
Utopia Is Complicated : The problem with the old internet isn’t that we treat it like the good old days of digital utopia; it’s that we don’t have enough detail about it to properly understand it with the depth and nuance it deserves.
Letting Go of the Old Web: Page no longer live, points to archive link. Dezzie asks herself, what makes us creative. What gets us to build a website? What the hell is a website today? Not the web community, or tech industry. She means humankind...
Everyone Should Have Access to the Web: The World Wide Web Foundation began as a way to bring the web to everyone. In these trying times, it is needed more than ever.
When the Web Was Weird: In the late ‘90s, an obscure site called Superbad pioneered jarringly bizarre, often ugly, but occasionally beautiful web design. It’s taken all this time for the rest of the internet to catch up.
A Love Letter to Net.Art : Jay Hoffmann, an Internet historian looks into the creative asthetic of net art
Exit Feeds, Enter Community: Author explores how to take control of what you absorb on the Internet and the endless drivel of social media.
Make your own independent website: Victoria remembers the web that she grew up on and puts out the call to make 2021 the year of the independent web.
The Organic Web: Jim explores that on the web why we're obsessed over growing communities, growing out brands, but not making websites...
This used to be our playground : There was a time when owning digital space seemed thrilling, and our personal sites motivated us to express ourselves. There are signs of a resurgence, but too few wish to make their digital house a home.
How to bring back the old internet: Bit of a long read where the author remembers internet forums and how they moderate themselves, and the difference between monstorous platforms like facebook and their refusual to moderate content on that platform.
How the Blog Broke the Web: Amy, the author remembers what surfing the web used to be like in the 90s.

last updated 2021-06-27