What today's young technologists can learn from Web 1.0 + 2.0 stans
Have you forgotten something?
Lots of memories in this post (I was at that Beck concert at Yahoo HackDay and at / helped with many of the various unconferences etc (even ran my own small conference in 2005/2006) but missed out on the Web 1.0 stuff (I was in Chicago then) - some of us, however, go even further back to USENET before WWW was even a thing - I keep seeing parallels (though with ever greater scale) between how USENET evolved when AOL joined the Internet (and with the rise of the very very early pre-commercial "web" from gopher as new alternative. Scale keeps going up, but the same social issues keep cropping up - with a few folks (often using automation) trying to ruin various social spaces for everyone else (see the first trolls on USENET, when if you mentioned Armenia anywhere on USENET you would get flooded with trolling). But my first real deep online community was Alt.Callahans (and then the MuCK I ran from my college dorm room - some of the other folks from that MuCK remain close friends (and even in one case a literal - like across the street from my, can see their house from my house, neighbor)
This was so nostalgic!!!!!! 🤩
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us; looks like this post is reaching people who know you and people who don't but want to connect, which was such a great part of the early era. (Although I'm a little post-your-early-era, and before a lot of other people's early eras.) You were really the perfect person to write this partial history of the way it was (and possibly the way it will be again!)...
Great post! Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
Yeah, back then we had to build our own rigs to get things done. Here’s a photo of Kevin live-streaming the Beck concert at the Yahoo open Hackday in 2006 using a MacBook with the old external iSight camera.
Can't believe you left out Cereal Bar! haha! ;)
Seriously, though, great piece, Debs! So many fun memories from the olden days. Sorry we didn't have a chance to connect last week but happy to contribute memories to your future post.
It delights me that you're feeling optimistic about the direction things are moving.
I've been feeling that deja vu too. I was on Usenet before the great renaming, and much later when I joined LiveJournal and this "blogging" thing (pulled in by friends), I remember thinking that a blog or LJ was basically alt.fan.me and would people really care about what I, a nobody, wrote? I expected to read and be read by about a dozen people who were already friends, but things have a way of spreading. And I *knew* that from Usenet, where I built friendships with people I've never met and sometimes didn't know "real" names for, and it was all very cool and friendly and broadening.
The net, when freed from algorithms and branding and bubbles so that ordinary people can interact with other ordinary people without barriers, is a remarkable way to learn about people and places and subcultures very different from my own. I've formed friendships from people halfway around the world walking very different paths in life from mine. There's a whole big world out there, and the last thing I want is to be trapped in a bubble of people just like me, or as close as Twitter et al think they can come to that.
The revival -- I hope it's a revival and not just a blip on the way to the next corporate thing -- of decentralized, direct, person-to-person online interaction excites me. Coincidentally, I've been working my way through my older posts on LiveJournal and then Dreamwidth, pulling together stuff on my own domain now that I have one, and I'm realizing how much more I used to write and share. I don't know how much of the change in my behavior has been due to people moving from blogs to social media and the vibe changing, how much has been due to modern social censors who retcon what's acceptable and what's offensive, and how much is me being more lazy or distracted or busy or whatever. But, facing the stark contrast to "online me 15 years ago" and "today", I'm motivated to try to get more of the old, personal, human writing back, somehow.
Man. I was in Scotland, blogging and building and living all of this out, and wishing I could be a closer part of this community. I vividly remember my first meeting at SixApart, but even more than that, all the people who told me that none of this would ever be popular. It changed the world, and despite the impact of all the money, communities like yours heavily shaped what happened next.
Allow me to be the opposite of Craig Newmark ... we overlapped at Citi, have very interesting mutual LinkedIn connections ... and still don’t know each other, maybe pit that to right sometime. Meanwhile ... mastodon ✅ but maybe think interoperability more ... e.g. Micro.blog is a blogging platform that talks to mastodon, tumblr et al through apis ... Dave winer is building extraordinary stuff ... Latest is feed-land .. ... My point is let's not just pile onto another platform ... But rather choose what suits you and communicate with who you want to without having to know what platform they are on ... You know .. Like email .. Imagine if you had to know what tech someone used to send them an email.
I just finished writing a book about Women in Interaction Design and UX and one of my favorite parts was revisiting when I came to silicon valley, building websites by hand, blogging - making my way through the different tools - grey matter, moveable type, wordpress - and how excited we all were to share and get together to learn from each other - meetups and cocktail hours and eventually photostrolls. The boomtime was crazy (even if it got ruined with capitalism) and inventing all of this was exciting.
Some of my favorite memories were of making Geocities sites and trying to get my friends to do the same (we were all teenagers at the time.) It was all a lot of animated GIFs we copied from elsewhere and I think we managed to get some photos scanned and uploaded. Then the infamous watermark was added to Geocities that threatened the integrity of our “designs” 😂
I love this! I blogged, daily, for 4 years (2006-2010) over at AnimalPerson, which is still there with thousands of broken links. Loved doing podcasts, too. FF to today and I have 2 blogs and am suddenly on podcasts again (different topics-mindfulness and the future of financial advice). Everything old is new again! I've so far resisted Medium and Substack. We'll see . . .
Might be fun!
¡Muy buen artículo! Gracias...