Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

remembering the good old days of the internet

Remember in 2008 I got some media attention because of my hydrox cookie web page? One of the funnier things about that was all these interviewers basically telling me "Wow, lots of people like cookies, but you launched a WEB PAGE all about them? That's huge!"

And I had to explain to everyone how things used to be, a long long time ago, when I first got on the internet, to explain how my thoughts on cookies got to have their own website.

I am not an early adopter, or a computer wiz-kid. I was slightly ahead of the nerd curve but not by much, I was never on BBS, didn't even have the internet at my parent's house. They got it about two years after I moved out.

But I was online before there were blogs. I had my first web page on geocities in 1998... two years before livejournal was a website where you could post comments on blog entries.

Gather around children. If I had something to say online, and I often did, here was the process:

1) I got on my computer and opened up microsoft notepad.
2) I typed up my thoughts.
3) I added HTML markup around my thoughts, along with the header/footer of the web page, links to the home page and "about me", and the HIT COUNTER.
4) Saved the file to a 3.5" floppy disk
5) Waited until I had a free afternoon after school to hang out at the library
6) Uploaded the HTML file to my geocities web page using the library's internet. There were 3-5 computers, usually no wait for them because most people didn't think they were that important, computers were only used for really big papers your teacher wanted you to type, usually because they wanted you to have experience using a computer.
7) I edited the home page of my geocities site to link to the new file
8) Next time I was back online, I'd check the hit counter to see if anyone had gotten to my page. Or if it really made an impression maybe they would email me!

easy and fun! anyway that's where the hydrox page originated... something that would have been a blog entry, but blogs didn't exist, so it was a page. And since it got emails, I figured I'd make it a fancier page by making special graphics for it.

The world was interesting. People would write up pages and have, like, ten or twenty and you'd go "wow, there's a lot on her site." We had no idea how prolific we could be with a platform like blogging. Nobody cared how recent your content was or how often you posted, because there were no dates on anything. I'd say at least 50% of the sites on geocities had a little "under construction" guy, digging in an animated GIF, because people felt like a web page was something they should get "finished" with and the little guy was a symbol that more content MIGHT be added. Today, we expect websites to be updated regularly, otherwise they're considered totally irrelevant. If your website is truly under construction it should not be online, in fact the little digging guy has sort of become an international symbol for "an idiot runs this web page, don't bother coming back because it'll NEVER be updated", am I right?

Since this is livejournal and already site of old fogies (yeah I said it) I'm sure half the people reading here will tell me that my 1998 experience WAS new-fangled shit, and that I should have seen it when the internet was just text carried around by passenger pigeons or pnuematic tubes or something, yes I know. But in the general population, a lot of people weren't online yet in the late 90s. I remember really hoping that this whole thing could catch on because I thought it was cool, but would normal people get into it? (turns out yes, but only on facebook, and may they stay penned up there as long as possible).

Nah. Thank goodness for blogging. And thank goodness for sites like ebay and etsy... if you think early "writing" was bad, you don't even want to know what e-commerce required. It's a wonder we survived.
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