What happened to the web's sparkle?

last updated 2020-12-06

There is something precious about a webpage. It's what excited me so much when I first encountered the internet as a kid. A blank canvas, yes, but also a nook to spark into existence. A manifestation of self. I'm talking about Web 1.0. Before it got fancy. A good site name, some content written as much for the creator as for the visitor. Sprinkled with a few of the early gifs and counter snippets. I miss that.

An example of a gif from my youth: Goku from Dragon Ball Z powering up A classico gif you'd likely find on 8 year old Marsh's website

There were some companies in the mix - Geocities and the like - but they were entirely optional. The web was more like, well, a web: meandering connections between distant nodes. Linking to others sites, a process of discovery between diligent research and bespoke digital collections. There was always a personality behind it. What we have isn't a mesh. It's a series of superhighways with clusters of content at the offramps. The only way someone might discover this (if at all) would be through the link in my bio on Twitter. Perhaps it's because the old scenic byways of the internet are forgotten and the only way we can travel is at 70 mph.