It seems to me alone that today’s Internet is boring and overly commercialized?
I feel like today’s internet is like a modern shopping mall, sterile and boring, with major brand clothing stores, a food court and nothing else. While I remember the old internet was more like an exciting city playground. First of all, yes, I know that the Internet was dial-up, and you could be turned off if someone picks up the phone. I also know that it was much slower. I was there. I was in high school when my father got internet access in 1995-96.
The internet was more interesting because it had more personality. Let’s say you were nerdy and you liked Star Wars, Star Trek, anime, video games or RPGs, you typed whatever you liked and you got custom sites on Geocities, some well thought out, some just jerky , but each was unique, each with its own personality. Each site is a declaration of love for a specific fandom. Each site was lovingly provided with screenshots, brief descriptions of episodes or games, and was also loaded with fanfiction and reviews.
Now if you type Nintendo, Super Mario, Star Trek, Star Wars, Hayao Miyazaki, etc. You won’t get a lot of these individual fan shrines anymore. Not. Instead, you will be directed to online retailers to buy their products and to the companies and corporations that make these franchises. The most personalized thing you’ll find is a wiki in which a group of people contribute to the topic. All of these wikis have the same template and are simply boring, devoid of emotion. I miss the independent Nintendo 64 vs PS1 sites, or sites that praised Disney or praised anime, and sites that hated both genres.
I miss not only nerdy things. The old Internet was also great for counterculture. For example, I am a naturist, that is, someone who loves to hang out naked in nature and swim naked with other like-minded people. Let me explain. No, I’m not a voyeur, not a pervert, or an exhibitionist. And I will not send nude pictures. I just subscribe to a body-positive naturism philosophy for self esteem, physical and mental health. But if you look at naturism on a search engine these days, you will see tons of pornographic pages. Believe it or not, there were more legal naturist sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s than there are now. It looks like the porn industry has adopted this word and twisted it. In addition, on today’s web, if not pornographic pages, then newspaper articles about the beach with clothes or something from TNS or AANR. But those personalized naturist sites that brought me into this lifestyle are now gone. Again, the old Internet was great for a counterculture, not just a counterculture against naturists. I found an independent website that was just a collection of photographs from all of the Woodstock festivals in the 1990s.
Counterculture aside, the old Internet was a little weird. Sites like Fat Mouse and the Ultimate Ninja webpage (which can still be found) were just made to be crazy. And I won’t forget to mention Zombo, which has soothing music and promises of great things, but doesn’t do anything else. One of my favorites was a humorous site asking them to change the title of The Return of the King movie to something else – a parody of a site that wanted them to change the title of the second Lord of the Rings The Two Towers movie to something else because they were afraid that it will make people think about 9/11. On the joke page “Change the name of The Return of the King” site, they used the argument that it would make people think Elvis is back. Just trivia when it comes to websites. Some sites were so simple too, with just dancing cartoon characters. Other strange things were a website that advertised a book more evil than the Necronomicon, claiming that the book was nonetheless real and even frightened the Nazis. Fake? Sure! But it gives me goosebumps. This last site I can’t find anymore. Or they were weird sites dealing with bizarre spirituality that could also be considered a counterculture. The strangest of them all were old video sites like Homestar Runner and Albino Blacksheep. Each video site was unique, not a conglomerate like Youtube.
Last but not least, what about links? Each individual website had a list of links that took you deeper and deeper into the Internet, forcing you to explore it for hours on end.
I could say that Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Google helped to destroy the Internet, but in fact, everyone started using it. The internet was a haven for nerds, geeks, artists, and bohemian losers until the tough guys took it over. The Internet is now boring, outdated and overly commercialized.
However, I understand that I am a hypocrite. I have a Patreon account, I hope to make money from my writing, and of course I want to make money from Medium. However, I still feel that the old Internet is dead, and this is a big loss. At one time, the Internet seemed huge. Now he seems so small and so angry.