Glory days…

Typically when i sit down at my computer in an attempt to type out a post or entry in this space i pretty much just lose everything out of my head. If you’ve ever met me in person, you know that i’m fairly adept at articulating a stream of consciousness rant and can run simple ideas into grand architectures. Unfortunately, until the technology exists to record my thoughts, my written word will never accurately represent what’s really going on in my mind at any given moment.

I’m working on this though. Thanks to Nathan over at greybucket, i was able to get my mitts on the Twitter handle, @dropslash. I’m hoping that lots of micro posts can help get me accustomed to a kind of thought documentation. It’ll be a while before it ramps up and i’m working on integrating my Twitter feed into this site.

This site, in it’s many and varied instances, has been around for over ten years now. //dropslash[dotcom] has been around for over eight. My first ever Blogger post was on February 8th, 2001, the Internet Wayback Machine’s first entry for dropslash.com is April 5th, 2001. It’s funny looking back of the history of this site. The internet was a different place back then. Google had just really started to climb, Yahoo was the search king. Wikipedia was a month old. MySpace and Facebook didn’t exist.

They were the glory days of the “independent web”. A rag-tag community of frontier mentality independent content producers blazing trails across the internet. Blogging was in it’s infancy, camgirls were on the news (and cam-portals divided the community), and people were designing for design’s sake. Remember, no Friendster/MySpace/Facebook/Etc, not everyone had a place on the web. If you didn’t know how to run your own domain, or yet, design your own website, you were just a spectator. Design was the key here.

Back then, Flash was just starting to get it’s legs and it was no where near what it is now. The design of your (indie web) site was like your signature, your calling card. Content was almost second place to design and for a lot of us design was what we were really in it for. Design for design’s sake. We overhauled our sites constantly, i changed //dropslash[dotcom] nearly every month. Nearly all of us were self taught, learning as we went. We consumed new technologies as they emerged and believe me, there were plenty of them. We all scrambled to integrate new pieces of web architecture into our sites in order to stay ahead of the curve, to trump everyone with our designs. It was during this time that Web Standards really started to take hold. Some people, like myself, embraced them and used the constraint to push our coding in new directions. Some people just flat out ignored them. A lot of people i know dove headfirst into Flash to totally bypass them. In any case, the imagination of the time (i feel) was unmatched.

That’s a fairly abrupt and unromantic summary of a time that i look back upon fondly and i feel shaped who i am in profound ways. I met so many brilliant people who i’m thankfully still friends with today. Anyway, all of this has lead me to my current musings on aspects of the internet, more specifically how much it’s changed in that time concerning the “independent web” and “design for design’s sake”.

“Social Networking”, i usually cite MySpace specifically, has really destroyed so much of those times and what was built. Webspace for anyone, no design experience or understanding necessary. Now i certainly won’t decry social networking, especially this day in age. It’s definitely a useful, and almost necessary, tool in keeping in touch and current with how we’ve evolved in our digital lives (I actually like Facebook for it’s design simplicity and uniformity).

Anyway, i could go on forever about all this but i’m going to cut it short. I need to get back to redesigning this site. -_-