I found out yesterday that you are going to the great URL in the InterWeb sky. The news hit me rather hard because you were such a huge part of my late teens and super early 20’s.
I remember when the Internet first really burst into my every day life. Back then, internet access wasn’t the invisible 3rd arm I now cannot imagine living without. Back in those early days, it was a novelty to be doing the only surfing I knew how to do. That horrific screeching of the dial modem didn’t remotely resemble two robotic cats getting their freak on. It actually sounded like music to my ears because it meant I was about to be connected. I used to forward all incoming phone calls to my pager (yeah, remember those things?) because I didn’t want to go postal on the person who unknowingly cut me off.
I remember the first time I ever set foot on the Internet. I was in high school and getting spammed by my friends was the coolest thing ever because :
1. It meant I had email.
2. It also meant I had friends.
3. It reminded me that we were in high school because of all the stupid crap they’d send me.
As a regular in one of the IRC channels back in the late 90’s, I remember thinking “aaaw….how sweet…” when guys would send me roses. Those used to look like :
Being the moderator was the equivalent of being God in the chatrooms because, like He-Man or She-Ra, I have the POOOOOWWEEEER to punt your punk ass off the channel and block you. Not that I ever did that or anything whenever I was a mod. That would be mean! …aah haa haa haa…
I went from relishing the fact that I was receiving mail in the form of non edible spam to trolling around the newfound world of the Online. From there, it was only a short hop and a skip to having complete conversations, starting friendships and, for a few of the super brave denizens of the IRC chatroom, complete relationships with people no one has ever met face to face. I guess it was only a matter of time before our innate human curiosity (inner exhibitionist….latent voyeur…whatever) got the best of us. The desire to put up personal webpages about ourselves for the entire world to see and giving as much or as little 411 depended on how high we wanted to wave our freak flags. A few things that must be on the pages were shout outs to your crew, the photos of ourselves and with the requisite line of bouncing, over caffeinated animated blobbies (omg, I was so obsessed with those).
The strange desire to allow complete strangers access to what I look like, what my friends look like and whatever the hell else it was that I put on those pages drove me to learn how to program in rudimentary HTML. I claimed space in your Tokyo neighborhood and…I forgot where else. I remember how excited I got when my first pages ever went live. Every time that little hit counter went up by one was a little thrill running up and down my spine. Okay, I’m totally exaggerating but it did make me happy.
It doesn’t matter that most of us probably can’t even remember the URLs of our pages much less our login information. I know I couldn’t. The only reason why I stumbled across my page was when I was Googling myself and it landed me on my faithful little site. Sure enough, every time I accessed it, I would crash my page because I had figured out how to infinitely loop a song while using frames. It was reassuring to know that the site was always there for me even though I had forgotten and neglected it.
And now that little site of mine is gone. I tried to look for it in a vain effort to salvage the antiquated code I once labored over but it’s already gone.
GeoCities, I will miss you. I’m sad Yahoo decided to shut you down. You were like a glimpse into how the Wild Wild Internet used to be back in the day before flashy showy things like CSS and Flash existed. You were bare bones, down and dirty but you delivered.
Rest in peace, GeoCities.
Bonnie N. Clyde is a writer for YouBentMyWookie.com and the alias of the Supreme Commander / Ultimate Destroyer. When she’s not crying over her lost Interweb, she writes in her blog over at MissBonnified.com.