I remember when I first went online. Beyond a school-approved BBS, I mean. I wasn’t there at the beginning, or even that early-on. But when the World Wide Web, saying “www” was hard. We all just say it so quickly now, like it’s no big deal, “dubayuh dubayuh dubayuh,” but back then we all pronounced it properly, “double-you double-you double-you.” Try to say that quickly. You can’t! The early web was weird because there weren’t a lot of commercial sites. The most interesting stuff was in some sub-directory of a stanford.edu or MIT site. In fact, commercial sites were this weird novelty. “Whoa, Zima has a website? *laugh out loud*” You would literally laugh out loud, not just use “lol” in place of completing a thought. I spent a lot of my freshman year of college browsing the web at the computer lab. Some of the computers there were 286s. Yeah. So awesome. Green text on a black screen, navigating Unix, browsing the web with Lynx. All text. If a site had an image, it looked like this: [IMAGE] There was a lab with Macs, and eventually they installed Mosaic on them, but I ended up using the Unix terminals because I could telnet into MUDs and fail all my classes because I was role-playing in a text-based fantasy world, battling rats in sewers like such a fucking noob. The only people who were on the internet at that time were on the internet because they really wanted to be on the internet. That was the purpose. If you used the net, it was for the sole reason that you wanted to try it out, explore it, see what was on the other side of that hyperlink. It was the style at the time to incorporate hyperlinks into the body of your text that linked to sites other than your own. For instance, if you were writing something and you mentioned Beavis and Butthead, you’d link that to a site about Beavis and Butthead. You’d link everything you could link. Early web pages were filled with blue, underlined text, and you could fall into a rabbit hole of web surfing pretty easily. Now, not so much, but the web has evolved.
I kind of want a new internet because I go on Facebook or Tumblr and I see all these normal people there doing normal people shit, which is irritating. Like posting shitty glurge photos urging everyone to like or share to support some stupid cause. Or sharing terrible humor photos that aren’t funny, or those animated gifs of scenes from TV shows with the dialogue in white at the bottom, the purpose of which I am unclear. People are on the internet now because that’s just how people spend their time. They don’t want to explore, they want what is right there in front of them. Most people these days visit sites only because they’re linked from Facebook, and now most sites have a stupid Facebook integration that causes people like me to ignore their content. Tumblr is much more interesting and fun for exploration, in my opinion, but only within Tumblr. There are a lot of super fresh Tumblrs out there but the popular ones, the ones with a zillion followers, are pretty rote. Hot girl who likes games, hot girls in nerd costumes, hot girls getting fucked by James Deen. Naturally the most popular anything will tend to represent the interests of those comfortably in the fattest, juiciest parts of a bell curve. I don’t really care. Normal people are normal and usually not interesting, but that’s not their fault. They’re just ordinary. I’m pretty ordinary, too, I just like some weird things, like girls with slightly dirty feet. Wait, no, that’s not true. I can’t fault people for liking what they like, although I do it constantly and at great length and verbosity. But still! Gah. So much rambling. Welcome to blogging.
I like to look back at my early times on the internet, when nerds were actually nerds, and think about how it was better, but that is fucking stupid talk. That’s how old men think, and while I may be advancing in age to the point where any relevance I have on cultural matters has disappeared, I refuse to be someone who believes incorrectly that one point in the past was better than the present. By basically every metric, now is so much better than then. The internet was like the wild west but who the fuck wants to actually live in the wild west? Everyone smelled like horse shit all the time and you could die from having the flu. The flu! Fuck that. Websites may have had more soul back then, and there was more experimental content due to the fact that people were trying to figure out a format for their stuff, but you couldn’t find shit. Like, searching for stuff on Lycos was frustrating and hardly ever got you where you wanted to be. Now you can learn anything. Hey, what is the quote in that movie about— imdb.com. Who was the second in command of the Third Reich— Wikipedia.com. Now is totally better, but it comes with a cost. We all have to suffer with everyone’s stupid bullshit and rage-comics and Big Bang Theory horse shit. Plus you can get way too many t-shirts now. But my theory of subjective t-shirt value is blog for another time.