Sunday, May 10, 2009

Resent This Article, and Future Considerations

Uptown Magazine! The surreal adventure that will become your world!

I'm a little late in getting around to mentioning it, but I'd written a reasonably timely column about the untimely future passing of Geocities. I was pretty sure that the column conveyed my nostalgic, if irrational, sense of loss and disappointment in the oncoming disappearance of the site -- or at least I was pretty sure until I received this actual, unedited, one-hundred-per-cent-serious reader response to it:

"I resent your Uptown article. Geocities rules."

It went on like that for like three pages (!), but that was -- and I'm not kidding -- the word-for-word opening statement. So for any readers out there who may have been confused or misled, rest assured that my affection for GeoCities has endured to this day. Part of it is the amateur content aspect, of course, but another part of it is the archival function that it has faithfully served right up until, well, now. Aside from the most flagrant of flagrant copyright transgressions, nothing has been deleted off of GeoCities in the past decade or so unless the original creator went in and deleted it; you can go back and find hundreds of thousands of old GeoCities pages left frozen in time and exactly as you'd remembered them, save for the occasional advertisement that Yahoo! added to them retroactively because Yahoo! is headed by useless, gibbering morons who are seemingly incapable of making money off of anything.

I ran a few randomly inspired Geocities-themed Google searches, just for kicks, and ended up with all kinds of various GeoCities pages. (For sanity's sake, make sure that your speakers are turned off if you decide to open all of those at once.) Some of these pages are just flat out way better than others, and back in the day it seemed that for every one great page there were a hundred intolerable ones, but you can feel the effort that people put into them -- and it's all going to be gone, poof, the work of millions of people from all over the world just like that. What the hell, Yahoo!, what the hell. The Internet Archive, marvelous as it is, can only do so much at once; you couldn't give them a heads-up first?

Somewhat related to this topic, it was about half my life ago (!!) that I originally started puttering around with webpages on GeoCities; its impending closure coincides with my ultimate acknowledgement, in my old age, that it's soon going to be time for me to bite the bullet and actually pay money for webhosting. Not with Yahoo! Ha ha, oh goodness no. But in the two and a half years or so that I've been on Blogspot -- is it seriously like two and a half years now? -- I've written a lot of feature-length items and image-heavy posts, and it's always irked me that they couldn't be properly condensed for skimming them. I've heard similar complaints from people reading the blogs; it's hard to check them frequently if doing so brings up hundreds of images, but in their current enclosure there's no way to index or present them without having to load the entire thing every time. That, plus the soon-to-be-sudden disappearance of my hilariously awful old Geocities pages that I haven't touched in a decade, is making me strongly consider the prospect that it's time for me to cough up the dough and establish something somewhere that is both flexible and permanent.

This is all fruitless musing right now, of course! This is something I'll have to look into in the future, because right now I have neither the money nor the time necessary to further the thought. I start my third, and assumedly final, term of library school tomorrow! It's crunch time! (Note also that my classes this term include a web design and architecture course, a publishing and media course, and a public sector internet broadcasting course; it might be smarter to make big internet decisions after I've been exposed to these.)

In conclusion, GeoCities! You were a miserable piece of crap, but I'll miss you all the same.

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