Sunday, October 25, 2009
An era ends on October 26th, 2009 (that would presumably be tonight at midnight) when Geocities officially shuts down for good.
Back in the late 90s and the early whatever-we're-calling-this-decade*, Geocities was the place where a lot of us first got to know the internet. Ranting manifestos, pages listing every item in some shut-in's collection of He-Man action figures, obsessive fan sites dedicated to some band that broke up in 1980 without ever getting within shouting distance of the top 40, galleries of furry giantess jpegs... Geocities offered all of that, and oh, so much more. All of a sudden, being a misfit became a lot less lonely. No matter what wacky crap you were into, all you had to do was click around on Geocities for a while, and eventually you would find people who shared your obsessions.
If you're enough of a geek to be reading this and you're over the age of 25 or so, I'm willing to bet that Geocities has touched your life. Before Geocities, America's misfits had pen pals and they published 'zines (and raged against machines), and that was all very well... But it just wasn't enough. The internet changed everything, in ways tiny and beyond measuring, for good and ill. And for a lot of us, the internet began with a visit to those dorky little virtual "neighborhoods": Area51, TimeSquare, SiliconValley, SoHo...
You might think it's silly to get nostalgic about virtual places you haven't visited since 2001 or so. Or you might feel like they're bulldozing the streets where you grew up.
*Isn't it ridiculous that we still haven't figured out what to call the years 2000-2009, even now that they're almost over?
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