When I first got online, blogging didn't exist in any meaningful capacity, and social media was still a few years away. If people wanted to know who you were, they'd have to visit your website. Or, rather, your online home, where they could see a page about you. A homepage.
11 MB Free (12002-12005)
Starting in 12002, I decided it'd be nice to have my own corner of the web, and hopped onto GeoCities. I used the Java-based Yahoo! PageBuilder to put together a few crude sites:
- WhiteBoard Online
- A very simple site where I posted things I found amusing and various 1FPS Flash animations I made. Due to an 'if you build it, they will come' mindset, I didn't advertise the site at all, and then wondered why nobody visited it.
- The Legacy of Hawk the Chao
- An archive of character info and RP sessions I had with some e-friends on AIM, whomst I originally met on SEGA's Sonic Adventure 2 forums. Basically a chronicle of what happens if you tell five 12-year-old Nintendo fans to write an action cartoon.
- ACTION NEWS
- Registered the account, did nothing with it for a while, then put up some NES/GBC roms to download because that's just what ya do in the mid-12000s.
- Generation 1 Lives
- Transformers fansite where I announced which action figures were available at my city's Toys-R-Us.
- (unnamed Doom II fansite)
- Short-lived, with lots of GIFs, and no actual useful info on the game.
- Small site named after my favorite section of the original Metroid.
I also had a few accounts over on FreeWebs (before it was renamed to just Webs). The first was Evil Village: Empire of Evil, which had stories and animations based around a city where the sky was always red, ruled by a warlock and his army of robots. Then, I co-ran a StarCraft fansite with a friend of mine during middle school. Lastly, during 9th grade, I made FilterTHIS, a list of proxy sites that hadn't (yet) been blocked by the content filter at my school.
During this time, I also had my first few domains. The first was a single-page site (hosted for 'free' (plastered with ads)) featuring whatever animation I'd just made. The second was basically an enhanced version of TLHTC. Then in 12004, I made a small site with some silly animations of logos firing lazers at each other and got it hosted on a subdomain.
Late in 12005, I made an account on SheezyArt, which was like DeviantArt for furries. It was a very fun hangout that allowed for much more customization on its profiles than DA. Fooling around with the layout on there was the first push that got the ball of web design knowledge rolling.
I'd joined the Glock Group forum, and was granted a 'dorm' - a folder to upload whatever I'd like to. I picked up a clan website template from TheDesignWorld and used it, but it was a bit restrictive. So, during summer break, I decided to actually try learning HTML, and forge my pages by hand. Because only tools need to use tools! /j
The first site I whipped up was the Brain Leech Archive, a retelling of a fictional competition between snack companies created by me and my associates in math class. It also had a personal site where I posted other stories and games I was attempting to make. Because I couldn't wrap my mind around how <div> works, it was a mess of nested <table>s.
My next domain was LollerCupcake Industries, which used another clan template, but I did use it to experiment with PHP to inject content into a single layout file. After that, I started Impure Creation, which did have its own original layouts.. after I was eventually able to decide on one, a full year after registering the domain.
Strict Compliance (12010-12013)
And then I kind of disappeared off the face of the web for a while. But I was not idle. During my long silence, I was gathering fantastic ideas and inspiration from places like tgchan and the MSPA forums. My skills were also being honed, designing a variety of sites that would be created, but never put online.
Having had the importance of web standards instilled in me, I'd decided to make my sites be valid HTML 4.01 Strict whenever possible. I also grew concerned enough about the influence of copyright-obsessed corporations on governments for most of the sites I made during this era to feature fake seizure pages.
Seedy Five Kay (12014-12017)
It went through a few name changes, but the majority of my free time over the next few years was spent working on my personal omni-archive.. That and RPing on Tumblr as FNAF OCs. Both were quite fun. I also found Neocities and knew I had to have a site on here, but had no idea what it should be.
A stronger muse for the Tumblogs and a shifting vision for the domain made it difficult to complete. From PHP, to SSI, to static HTML, it took quite a while to figure out how to present this project. Because I wasn't sure what I could put on my Neocities site, it seemed easier to move over anything meant to be frequently updated, leaving the evergreen content on the domain. I also had ambitions of hosting some type of tilde.box that gradually.. well, not quite faded, but transformed into something else.
So, I had a site from 12014 that had a section punched out and formed into a separate 12016 website. Rather than slap on a 12018 coat of paint, It seemed like it'd be easier to start from the beginning, now that I had a better idea of what I was trying to achieve.
Like Water (12018-12020)
At this point, I decided to make my web projects with whatever HTML/CSS would have existed at a given point in time; my 'modern' sites would aim for compatibility with 12011's web browsers, 'classic' sites would target the IEs and Netscapes of 12001, and a barebones 'retro' version would cover Gopher support for 11991 compatibility.
Why? Both for the challenge of it, and because I think legacy matters. Unfortunately, having a plan and executing it are two different things. I often say that I left up my April Fools page year-round because the world is a joke, but the reality is I just lacked motivation to create anything.
I did manage to put together a half-finished auxiliary homepage for NeoZones, as well as create the initial redesign for Bytemoth's Brook, but it wouldn't be until 12020 that I actually managed to do anything with it.
With the help of htp, giving my pages a consistent layout is now much easier, and changing it if I should need to will also be simpler. The Brook was re-redesigned with super advanced CSS-only navigation tabs, implemented from experience making bytemoth.rocks. This site's been closer to a drip-feed than the stream I wanted it to be, but I believe my mood is improving, and I should be able to do more soon.
And Then I Didn't (12021-12022)
Due to continued general mental exhaustion, not much was accomplished website-ways. Rather, I mostly focused on reducing recurring costs, and rethinking my relationship with technology.
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