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Timeless Thoughts – Geocities

Timeless Thoughts - Click to join the linkup
Timeless Thoughts – Click to join the linkup

Hello, yes I’m still here. Just in time for this months Timeless Thoughts from Georgie and Tara. Click the image above to join in if you have something you want to write about that gives you a little nostalgia.

Recently, I was discussing with a friend the internet of old. It started with a mention of Alta Vista on Google’s 18th Birthday. For those of you that don’t know what Alta Vista is, it was Google’s predecessor. It was Google before there was Google. The very best search engine of its time. In the end Yahoo ended up owning it and, not surprisingly, ruined it. Because that is what Yahoo does it seems.

Our discussion then moved from search engines to webhosts, reminiscing about Geocities, Angelfire and Tripod, to name a few. Geocities is definitely where I got my start. It was the place I found when I realised that “hey, I can make websites too?” and yes, they were very basic and very terrible until I learnt more and technology started improving.

The thing I really enjoyed about Geocities was that they had a bit of fun with choosing your url. You got to choose your address based on the neighbourhood you chose and the number you wanted in that neighbourhood. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any screenshots of this but Geocities had different cities/neighbourhoods with different themes so you could set up your website in Hollywood if your website was entertainment themed, for example.
Once you chose the neighbourhood you wanted you were then presented with little houses and you got to choose one. This also meant you could choose your neighbours! Once you made these decisions you got to move in and start on your website. Geocities did try and make a little community for their budding website builders.

Geocities was so iconic that there are now silly websites where you can ‘geocities-afy’ your website. Here is mine! – That’s a little scary!

In the end Yahoo bought Geocities and, well, ruined.

On my trip down memory lane last week I stumbled upon Neocities whose aim is to make the internet fun again – Geocities obviously also had an effect on them too. They want to make website building accessible and about skill and interest rather than about money making, “pin me” covered websites. This spoke to me as I really do miss the website building of old where the aim wasn’t to be the best (no one was making money anyway so what did it matter?) but to be the best you could be and there was a community around to help you out if your layout just wasn’t doing what you wanted it to do.

So that prompted me to sign up for Neocities and make my own little slice of the internet (away from this slice of the internet) where there is no php or divs or even layout images. It’s just a basic website that I had fun creating. This is very similar to something I would have made back in the day, I always liked using black/charcoal and a bright colour, usually blue or pink. I’ve always been more interested in using colour to create a layout rather than images, something which continues today.. in fact, I realised while writing this post that the colour scheme is the same as All The Me. I guess some things never change!

While I’m not sure I’ll do anything else with the Neocities site, it was fun playing around with everything again. I can’t believe how rusty I was and that a simple table was a stretch of my memory. I used to make sites like this all the time and now I barely remember how, it really shows how tools like WordPress make you a little bit lazy.

Did you ever use sites like Geocities to create websites or other free hosting providers? Did you make websites before the days of wordpress?