It's 1993. The number of websites on the "Internet" can be counted in the hundreds, not the thousands. Most of these sites are hosted on university equipment by technology geeks of the first order. The pages rendered by NCSA Mosaic were bland, but they were connected to one another. You could click on an underlined, blue word and within minutes, you had someone else's page up. It was distributed multimedia, and it was glorious.
By 1994, websites had to be counted in tens of thousands, not hundreds. Geeks and semi-geeks had vanity pages, and you could tell by the design.
Fonts were huge and garish in color and design.Tiled backgrounds, random images, bandwidth hogging opulence became nerd haut couture. Geek-trash replaced white trash, as the replaced pink flamingos. Unclosed tags were strewn about like dirty diapers on the lawn of a crack house.
Over the course of the next 8 to 10 years, things settled down. People began to realize that, just because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD (and I mean the blink tag specifically here). Design became as important as displaying a command of the supporting technology. In fact, good design was considered more important than adding new tags and styles. In short, it was good.
Then came MySpace. As if the Internet Archive created some doomed wormhole to a decade old Internet, a new home was found for embedded music (only MP3 now, not midi) and vomit inducing colors.
For example, check out Zack's page. This is the WWW, circa 1995. No, wait, it's from 2006. How can that be? Everything points to the mid 90s. The huge background picture, the orange, white, blue, and pale red color scheme, pages so wide they would fill a billboard, three hundred font sizes per page (and counting). Even his frigging HAIR screams Flock of Seagulls. The only thing this toolbox is missing is an embedded mp3 jamming the latest vapid, Top 40 piece of crap at ludicrous volume.
If this is what we do with our technology, I want to go back to the stone age. I don't want it. Take it back.
It has become rather prosaic to bash MySpace, so I'd like to avoid that. MySpace, in and of itself, is not that bad. When it began as a place for bands to advertise themselves, their shows, and their music, it was great. It is very well geared toward that use. How it became a social networking site I'll never understand, but as a place of keeping in contact with friends, it makes a great pedophile farm.
The problem isn't with the site. The problem is that MySpace has become the AOL of today. Once upon a time, merely seeing someone log into your IRC chatroom from an AOL domain made it a near certainty that the first thing out of the user's "mouth" was going to resemble the keyboard bashings of a ADD suffering six year old hopped up on Pixie Stix and crystal meth.
NE H0T CH1X IN HEER?
WHY DO U SAY I YELLIN?
GIVE ME NAKID PIX OF U!
Slowly, this became less and less prevalent. Mostly, the idiot pool diluted itself amongst the millions of places to chat and be a nuisance around the web. The idiots were still there, we just didn't see them so much, because they were all over the place. MySpace gave them a place to which they could converge.
MySpace is the Mississippi trailer park of the Internet. You can't blame its inhabitants for their lack of fashion sense or design technique. When the only thing you have to decorate your house with is christmas lights and nipple tassels from bygone days of dancing at a titty bar for baby formula, of course that's what you'll use. Well, MySpace gives users the ability to modify their site, but only in the most superficial ways. As a result, in order to get a sense of "individuality", users are required to slap their christmas lights and pasties up wherever they can. The unplanned net result, however, is that there is no individuality. All of the sites look uniformly horrific.
What is the solution? Evacuate Tom from his secret bunker miles below the MySpace server farm, and nuke the building back into the stone age... and never, ever, let the AOLers gather in numbers again.
Or gouge our own eyes out and use JAWS to navigate the web. Whatever works for you.
(Editor's note: The irony that I am using "our technology" for what is largely a vanity journal [not a blog, I'll stab you in the head for that] is not lost on me. I see it, and I'm ignoring it. I can do that, because I'm better than you, thereby making my wasteful use of technology better than yours.)