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It’s not about nostalgia, it’s about human connection

Look, the early internet sucked. It was shitty design. We aren’t looking to go back to shitty design for shitty design’s sake. What we are nostalgic for isn’t terrible websites. It’s personal websites. It’s just a bit of diversity in design choices. It’s a hint of a person. Not a personal brand. An actual fucking person. We want humanity. A connection with an actual real life person. Not a logo, an actual face. A human face. Someone we can relate to, as a fellow human being.

For too long, we’ve all been crammed into the same damn profile layouts, the same damn text boxes, the same character limitations. What we’re seeking isn’t a return to rudimentary design tools and animated construction signs. No, we just want every site to feel personal; to reflect some skin and flesh and personal frailty and soulful passion; all the weird things that connect us together. A glimpse into the oddball life of someone else.

The lurch back towards that early web is a deep hunger for the personal web. The web that made you feel like you were part of this crazy but exciting endeavor that suddenly connected you with some other person across the world.

The corporate platforms dominate all across the world, forcing every person living in every culture to assimilate to one single way of expressing themselves. Sure, we technically “connect” over doubletapping an Instagram photo, sharing a TikTok video, and +1ing a dunk on twitter.

But that’s all different than the feeling we’re seeking. We want something that feels more…real. Something authentic, not performative. Personal, not personal branding. Noncommercial. We don’t want a content treadmill, we want online presences that are idiosyncratic and intimate, peculiar and distinctive. We aren’t interested in the best formulas for gaining views and building a following that we can monetize, we just want to express ourselves and find others who are courageous enough to do the same. We want to be interested in real fucking people, not “content” designed to distract us from our lives. We want to be friends, not followers.

That’s the personal web we seek. Or at least the one I seek. Show me yourself. Show me your passion. Show me your feelings. Show me what makes you you. That’s what I want.