Geocities Helped Define Personal Expression on the Web

December 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM
Original Geocities Logo

Original Geocities Logo

My love for the web began with Geocities. One of the first free hosting sites and certainly the most popular one in the mid to late 90s. This massive space of personal expression was the precursor of blogs, social media and other free publishing tools.

I hosted my page in the Area 51 “virtual neighborhood” and used it to learn about and experiment with making webpages, all the while exploring the nascent web and sharing my interests.

Anyone who is familiar with Geocities can attest to the universally gaudy and rudimentary web design that was the norm then (but extremely fun notwithstanding). Only html was supported, in fact you had to know how to code html to make a page. Netscape was the preferred browser and Geocities thrived with the fuel of a new technology beginning to gain broad adoption. The style and utility of the pages was embellished with animated gifs, tiled graphic backgrounds, embedded MIDI music, Guestbooks (which were thrilling), hit countersWebrings and other virtual paraphernalia. Indeed, all manner of digital trinkets were arranged with extreme care and even the “Under Construction” page (prior to actually publishing something) was often as detailed.

Check out some archived Geocities pages and take a trip back to one of the first impacts of the web on society (sadly I have not been able to find mine in the archives).

One thing I have always been fascinated about is how over time it has gotten vastly easier for anyone to have their own space on the web. From tools like Tumblr to platforms like WordPress this trend of people having more powerful tools which are easier and easier to use will continue to detonate human creativity for a long time. After the Geocities experience I opted in favor of hosting my own sites to delve deeper into web development, having thankfully discovered a taste for creating on the web.

90's HTML Goodies was invaluable for building sites!

90’s was invaluable for building sites!