Bookmark: The internet that took over the Internet
If you look deep enough, beneath mountains of attention hoarding, illusion photography, trending trends, you’ll find the old Internet, the one with content, knowledge, individuality, but you need to look hard. Can it be saved?
Author Peter Molnar
I have listed this essay in the Internet category of the directory.
Great essay on what happened to the old Internet, why it was superior to Web 2.0 and some thoughts about rebuilding it. This is exactly why I established the Webmaster Resources category here at the directory. It has HTML editors, scripts and generally all the links one needs to build some sort of website.
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@bradenslen A great essay, indeed, which says: “If you wanted it out there you learnt HTML, how to use FTP, how to link, how to format your page.” This one sentence describes exactly what I did in 1995 to build my Bob Dylan bibliography, with the help of one sys admin on the FTP part. It’s still there with 544 accurate listings of Dylan books. plus 250 Dylan interviews, 85 songbooks & a secret adventure in a land of fantasy. So secret I don’t even remember how to get into it. It’s all still there decades later, with Google routinely warning it is a danger to civilized mankind because of its HTTP pages. Internet 1.0 may rise again!
It would be nice if there was a revival of HTML sites. I suspect most people will continue to use blogs. But sometimes a static site is more appropriate when you have a finite amout of things to say on a subject and then you are done, when you don’t want to be posting every month, or be bothered updating the blog script, the theme the plugins all the time.
BTW I did list your Dylan site in the directory a couple of weeks back. I think under Entertainment >> Music if I remember right. I hope that’s okay.
@bradenslen Sure, I’m happy to have my bibliography in your directory, anything to help your project! I thought HTML was great as I was building it. Many from the Dylan community were building sites about the areas that interested them, a time of much creativity. I followed one book on HTML, used a simple text editor and it was easy. Building a big bibliography is very repetitive. I’d figure out the HTML for something then copy & paste it over & over, editing the details of each book as I went, making a static site, just as you describe. I built the whole thing on my own, then surprised my mentor at Cambridge in the UK with it as a done deal. Now it’s a museum piece of sorts, probably one of the oldest sites still on the web in its original form.
@bradenslen Speaking of static sites, I want to point you to an amazing one, about Leonard Cohen. I believe the site was created by one man; over 7,700 posts in 44 months. It is full of information about a great man, who became his friend in the process. This month Alan Showalter wrote, “The static site will be available for a short time before it goes offline permanently.” He did have two earlier websites on Cohen, which he took down and later put this one up. I don’t know why he insists upon taking them down.
@Ron Wow that’s a great site! It seems a shame to take the static site down unless he’s going to rework it into a completely static archive and reference site on Leonard Cohen. I hope he does that rather than take everything offline forever.
@Ron It’s a great site, packed with hard factual information about one of the greatest song writers and poets of the 20th century. I’m so glad you have kept it online. It ain’t broke so don’t fix it.
Like the original essay on this thread said, the web used to be made up of great specailist websites just like yours Ron. And what was so cool is you didn’t have to find a book publisher or printing press to get it published. This kind of detailed, researched academic grade information, such as yours, has disappeared. It’s been replaced with Wikipedia. I like Wikipedia, I use it every day, but Wikipedia can’t always match the fine level of expert knowledge many of these old websites had. And I wonder how many experts are tempted to make their own site and share their knowledge, but don’t because “Wikipedia does it good enough.”
@Ron You have just about a year (but tons of content) on my own monument to mid-to-late-1990s web design 😉 It always makes me smile to find old well-loved websites still around.