I just wanted to write a little something because 98plus/spriteclad has just left Neocities, firstly because its always sad to lose a Neocities member but also because I feel like their absence may dishearten other members, and some of their issues should be discussed. If you have no idea who this is or what Im talking about read on anyway, Ill keep things general.
If you have browsed my site at all you'll have seen I have a bit of an obsession with old computers, people ask me all the time why that is. Well to start with they are cool bits of history, however as I have collected them and used them, I have learned that they just work. I mean, you can write on them, make websites, model objects, chat online, make artworks and program. The realisation for me was that, you don't always have to have the newest thing. Whatever you have, if it works, its good enough. Not only that, but the differences, limitations and unique features of older tech often lead to creative and new ideas.
However, today we live in a world that is so focused on the next new thing. Every year or two you're expected to get a new smartphone, or move to the next hot new social media platform. For humans its important to always progress and improve, but I feel like we often confuse true progression with replacements or substitution.
Neocities fits into all this because its an old idea. Its a remake of the service GeoCities, its all about creating static websites. If you don't know, static websites are considered ancient history, having been replaced by dynamic, generated and social media sites. However its also a hybrid, bringing in social ideas such as the website list, following and commenting features. This is exactly the kind of thing I feel the world needs more of, it accepts that some older ideas are often simple and worthwhile, while still augmenting them with some newer features an ideas that make them more accessible without compromising their integrity.
To me its an act of defiance, but a creative one. To make a Neocities site is like saying, Im an individual, I will make my site however I wish, I don't follow everyone else, I will do it my way. Neocities supports this by making it easy to create and edit sites without technical knowledge, by teaching HTML and by protecting people with HTTPS.
Its not just about working on your own though, there is also the community. This is all the other websites that you can visit and follow, you can get ideas, steal code and ask each other for help. The website list for me provided something to shoot for, I really wanted to get onto the first page. You see humans don't work in a vacuum, we need other people to make our lives and work matter.
Now I have heard some people complain about the community here. The only thing I can say to that is, a community is what you make it. One fault I see today is an overemphasis on inane and depressive content. Rather than topics that really bring joy to peoples lives or encourage learning and development.
For me Neocities is a reminder to look at the way the web is changing. So many sites are near identical clones of each other, and so many people are putting so much time into social media platforms which they have no control over. Its a reality check, in the same way as old computers are, an alternative to compare the wider web to. Finally its a tool to share and log whats important at this point in my life, but in a way that I can control and trust. Its important to be able to trust things.
Something that bothers me greatly is the idea that people are made by their surroundings, the buildings we live in, the books we read and the sites we browse. If we keep building boring mundane buildings, then boring mundane people will grow up in them. The same goes for websites and the people who browse them. Perhaps you think thats ok and websites are just websites, I disagree, the little details of peoples lives matter.
So Neocities is part of something I call the bespoke web. Thats the web made by people, where every site is unique and handcrafted for its purpose. Too often people simply follow along, they don't create their own things. The problem is that if you just follow, you will end up being led to things that are not good for you or the world. Its not hard to create things yourself, and when you do, you are the one in control. Neocities is a great tool to help you create you own things.