WordPress, Communities, Web & stuff

by Juan Hernando

Bring back the weird internet

Lego bricks You get the bricks, and your imagination comes next. By Kiama.Library licensed under CC BY 2.0

Today’s Bloganuary prompt asks: What is a treasure that’s been lost? And I can think of too many things that have fallen by the wayside. But as this blog is usually about the world of the web and my relationship with it, I’m going to talk about the “treasure” that I miss the most:

The curiosity to make your own space on the Internet.

The problem could be that in the old days, we didn’t have much to do with computers at the user level, and in the end, you ended up learning by touching all the buttons and options that existed. But I remember fondly that time when everyone started to tinker with basic HTML and CSS to get their personality or their tastes to their website, their blog, or even their social network.

Yes, I’m talking about websites like Geocities, the first Blogger, WordPress or LiveJournal, or even MySpace.

There were probably many other things happening on the web at that time that I wasn’t aware of. But in my ideal bubble, many people were slowly learning the basics of creating a website by trial and error, by reading the few tutorials you could find, or most of the time, by copying the source code of someone else who had done it before you. Can you imagine if the code of websites had not been open? If it had not been at the reach of a right click? It would have been a disaster!

Nowadays, everything is convenient; there are applications or platforms where everything comes ready-made, and even if you can change a few options, you don’t need to research or learn anything. Is it better? Yes. Is it ideal? Sure. But from the perspective of someone who found his way to make a living from that situation, I feel a bit sad that this treasure has been lost.

In a world where visuals, stories, short videos… everyone wants to be an influencer. In my day, you wanted to have the most customised MySpace (and with the best music played, of course!) or the most eye-catching personal website -on free hosting- where people could read your thoughts.

Matt Mullenweg – one of the creators of WordPress and now the owner of Tumblr – said in an interview in The Verge that we should go back to making the internet weirder. I totally support that. Whether it’s WordPress, Tumblr or whatever you can think of. But experimenting, letting your imagination run wild and going off the beaten track, the standard way of doing stuff, should be the norm again.

It’s a treasure that has been lost but that we can recover: long live the weird web!

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