The old internet — the internet we first fell in love with — was a weird and wild and unregulated country. It was experimental, free for all, exhilarating, creative. The browsers in those days did not yet need to worry about mobile formats, so people were able to make the coolest, most interesting websites. The sky was the limit and Macromedia Flash would bring us there.
There were no algorithms, no big tech companies trying to gobble up and then sell our data, no surveillance. The oddest friendships happened, because the internet allowed people from opposite ends of the world to find each other based on their common interests (and often via their wonderfully kooky little websites).
The internet still allows for great innovation and connection today, but it’s just not the same. Social networks like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter constitute “the internet” for many people, but they are not. They are only a pale version of what was and what could have been. The social-network-internet of today is best understood when you hold in your mind the image of a faceless person scrolling down a screen endlessly for all of eternity, but yet for whom satisfaction never comes.
But the internet is still here and there might come a day when things get decentralised again. I don’t know if that might ever come to pass but for now we can take back the internet by going back to creating our own websites and blogs and even newsletters and relying less, far less, on the cursed social networks.