9/5/2021: Web 2.0 SUCKS! - My manifesto and feelings of Web 2.0
The web as we know it today, web 2.0, stifles creativity, exploration, and community. The web of today is a capitalist hell, that is actively hurting everyone on it. It hurts and hinders our ability to discover things via surfing the web, and it constantly harms the art of creation as a whole, regardless of medium or art form.
It is actively taking privacy away from us all too. Convenience is nice and all, but people on Twitter and Facebook talking about how Tiktok is a security hazard don't seem to realize how those social media they are using to talk down on another also harms their own privacy. Google has become a lot harder to use these days as well, so much of the web is cut off from us in it's search algorithms designed to get profits made. The current stage of the web hurts and hinders our ability to have expression and communities, especially marginalized ones.
It is things like this and so much more that lead me to getting off my ass and begin working on my neocities out of spite and frustration of the new web. If you look at my account profile I did make this account in 2020, but I only really started making my own space this year. And I am glad I did.
As I go along building this site I am learning HTML and CSS. It's an ongoing process but a very rewarding one. To be able to create your own space is so important. Especially in this current internet that is out to monetize everything it possibly can, even our own lives. It's nice to have a space where I know what I make on it is mine and mine alone one -hundred-percent.
As a young child, I remember browsing so many fanmade pages. Geocities, Angel fire, and more. Dedicated to the things I love: Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Nintendo, Speed Racer, Zelda, Ojamajo Doremi and so much more. A Sailor Moon custom doll site is how I discovered Cutie Honey. It and Speed Racer were my gateways into old anime.(Sailor Moon was my first anime, but it wasn't really into retro anime territory just yet in the mid 2000's) I owe a lot to these old pages.
I remember the feeling I got whenever I would boot up my old personal computer as a kid and teen. I never participated in online communities for so long outside of the old official Bakugan one, so I never got to experience livejournal or myspace. I was too shy and also pretty young, but even so I felt a sense of community and home on the web at those times even when I was a lot more passive in fandom spaces. I didn't even interact with others much on DeviantArt when I joined as a kid in 2011, I just posted art and would leave nice comments but even with being so passive in online communities I felt like I was able to express myself.
Web 2.0 keeps changing in ways to suppress creativity and discovery. The internet is not just social media. It is not Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It's bigger than that, way more vast than so many people realize. We are shown so little of it because of social media and search engines purposefully hiding so much from us with their algorithms which are designed first and foremost to make profit. And this incentive to monetize everything purges so much in its wake time and time again.
Look at tumblr's porn ban in 2018 as just one instance of many. So much art, so much culture, created by so many individuals, especially marginalized people, has been wiped off the map completely. The art and creations of these people have been lost to time. When art is lost, culture is lost. And art and culture is something absolutely invaluable and truly devastating to lose. The incentive to monetize anything and everything has and will continue to harm BIPOC and Queer voices.
As an artist and creative as well, algorithms on social media actively are built against us. Twitter's algorithm keeps changing in ways constantly that hurt us and prevent our work from reaching people. People who would want to see our work. Doing basic things such as using hashtags that aren't even trending, having too much text in our art-only tweets, and even just the words of commission and PayPal hurt our posts and get them to be seen by less eyes. And the algorithm keeps changing and artists have to find new ways to constantly fight the algorithm, it is a never ending battle for us creatives as a whole. A battle we can't ever fully win.
Don't even get me started on how Instagram is a horrible place for artists too with it's algorithm. I have fully abandoned that app. So far I haven't left Twitter because I have made truly valuable connections and friendships there. But if I ever need to leave one day I know there are other ways to connect with these people I hold dear. The centralization of the web has hurt all creatives and right now we have literally no viable options for a new platform to migrate too. Because of the centralization of the web, if we migrate we can lose so much of our following and the ability to get our work seen by those who'd want to see it. Even if those platforms are actively doing just that. But right now there is just no other option.
And these are just some of the many reasons why I am angry and frustrated with web 2.0 and how things are going.
I believe very strongly that we all take back the web. Forge our own spaces, build our own communities once again, learn to surf the web the old way. With webrings, web directories, and more. People who have compiled great resources and made their own articles and manifestos I will link below. Learn HTML and CSS if you haven't. Coding is a skill that is very accessible to learn, take it from someone who is Neruodivergent and easily discouraged so they can have trouble really wanting to get into things, and there are so many resources to help you learn and help you troubleshoot. I will also link them below.
We are all losing so much because of web 2.0, this is why we all need to band together. We all need to get involved how we can and forge our own new path. Neocities is a wonderful place full of various wonderful pages created by passion. And is doing its part to help take back the web. I cannot recommend it enough and how invaluable it is for what it is doing. It is why I am a monthly supporter of it.
Together we can do this. Get your friends involved. Learn and build your own sites together! Learn how to make a webring for you and your friends, and host other cool links too to encourage web surfing. Either in the webring or by hotlinking. And massive shout-out to onionring for making accessible tools to create your own webring in this day and age. I will link to them too.
Together we can forge our own spaces on the web, and create an environment that fosters creativity, passion, exploration and discovery like the old web. Speak up against how social media actively hurts us all. And never stop creating. Never give up. We can do this, we can change the future and forge our own path. We can take back the web.
[UPDATE on 1/26/2022: I have fixed/changed some broken links, as well as added some new ones!]
Onionring: A accessible way to create your very own webring. More details on the site.
Other Useful Links: How to Surf the Web, and Webmastery Page, both created by Sadgrl. She has many great articles, I encourage checking out all of her site. I recommend looking through the Yesterweb Link Directory as well!
You can check out the full list of posts that have been made here.