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Author Topic: Where did the previous era of internet users go?  (Read 1271 times)
Deckade (Tolo)
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« on: January 05, 2023 @500.36 »

I have a few theories as to what happened to these power (for lack of a better term) users who helped shape the creative force that was the internet from the 2000s to the mid 2010s.

Most obviously I could see them logging out and stopping participation in internet culture as a whole. With the concentration of the internet in the late 2010s the idea of "internet people" dwindled, as society brought the real world and its real problems online, and new users flooded the internet, changing customs and homogenising behaviour. Similarly, I could see them "outgrowing" the internet, despite my own belief that it isn't something that is outgrown, but the current iteration means every space is driven by anyone from 12 years old and up, and of any expertise and compassion.

Alternatively, I could see them getting influenced by the current iteration of the internet, in order to potentially fit in with peers or the uncreative system presented to them. Whether this means being less creative or just producing less creative content I'm not sure.


They could also be hiding out in small communities like this I guess
Do you think these users can be enticed back to the internet?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'll edit this tomorrow, but I'm just putting it up tonight as it popped into my head as I was getting into bed. :smile:
« Last Edit: January 05, 2023 @504.78 by t0lo » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2023 @757.67 »

I think the most obvious answer is that they changed with the times. I know plenty of people who are absolutely embarrassed by having had a MySpace account, being on Geocities or having a LiveJournal. They call it their "emo phase" or blunder years, and are nowadays posting recipes and dog pictures on Instagram.

Plenty of people who used to be in these scenes consider the old web an embarrassing eyesore these days.
They simply grew out of it.
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2023 @14.36 »

I'm one of those "previous era" people. A lot of the sites I used to visit closed down as the owners got busy with other things, lost interest, had personal tragedies in their lives, or just couldn't justify continuing to pay for a web space that hardly anyone visited. I closed my own site when I finally got full-time employment in software development. I spend so much time programming in front of the computer for work that it killed my interest in doing it as a hobby.

But there are some that are still around. Dinosaur Dracula is a new-ish blog by the guy who used to run X-Entertainment (not a porn site). Both are/were general geek-culture sites focused on retro toys and videos.

YTMND (the original "gifs with sound":wink: closed down for a while but actually came back a few years ago. Content is all user generated and largely unmoderated, though, so be wary if you decide to visit. There was a period of time years ago where the front page was filled with racist memes, and I spent a lot of effort creating my own sites to try to push them down.

But that's really not many that I can think of off the top of my head. I think most people who wanted to make a living off of the internet moved to social media to promote themselves better, and either let their personal sites die or go un-updated for long periods of time.
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2023 @94.63 »

I'd also add that a lot of internet culture from the late 90s onwards was centred around online games, same as it is today - a lot of people would have spent their time in game servers and communities related to those games - when games get too old and people stop playing, the severs close and the community tends to drift apart. Its much harder to maintain a gaming server than a website!

For us diehards, if we loose our home online then we will just go and find a new one - but I think for many people in the 90s and 00s, when they lost their homes online, they just stopped going online to socialise.

That said a few older online spaces like SecondLife, Habbo and RuneScape still have a large chuck of their original communities intact - I had a professor in college who had been on SecondLife since it first opened :ozwomp:
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2023 @139.19 »

I think the most obvious answer is that they changed with the times. I know plenty of people who are absolutely embarrassed by having had a MySpace account, being on Geocities or having a LiveJournal. They call it their "emo phase" or blunder years, and are nowadays posting recipes and dog pictures on Instagram.

Plenty of people who used to be in these scenes consider the old web an embarrassing eyesore these days.
They simply grew out of it.

Thing is, I don't really think they "grew out of it" but just think it's bad now because modern society tells them it's no longer cool and hip. It's sad how people feel like they need to change to pleased the current state of culture around them.

but I think for many people in the 90s and 00s, when they lost their homes online, they just stopped going online to socialise.

As another one of the "previous era" people that's kind of how it is was for me, I think. The internet and culture changed around me and unlike most people and I never felt the need or desire to change with it. But now it's just left me feeling completely alienated on the internet now, surrounded by people I feel I don't understand or relate to. Because of this I don't really spend time socializing on the internet anymore other than small communities like this forum with people I feel I can at least somewhat connect with.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2023 @147.40 by Veezle » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2023 @423.40 »

Thing is, I don't really think they "grew out of it" but just think it's bad now because modern society tells them it's no longer cool and hip. It's sad how people feel like they need to change to pleased the current state of culture around them.

Some people just change with the zeitgeist though. For example, at some point, parts of the online scene n emo culture became pretty universally uninteresting to people at large, like 'random' jokes (zomg dinosaur rawr), pretending as if no-one else at all on the world understood them or as if they were a super mysterious sociopath (didn't work anymore at some point).

People sometimes just change because they want to, or because society around them that supported their identity changes around and takes them with it.

We also forget that the reason many people got into the things in the first place was society and its whims and trends. Even on this forum and on Neocities, there will be plenty of people who bandwagon on the 'retro web' because they saw it on TikTok or want to have an alt identity away from the rest of society. Nothing wrong with it, of course.
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2023 @189.04 »

It didn't help that the best of free hosting companies Lycos, Tripod and Angelfire all closed down or underwent major changes a little before 2010. Most had pretty strong communities via their forums. Good free hosting is still around but the sense of community and the feeling of doing something new and different is gone.

There's plenty of independent sites around but they take a lot of finding, they are lost in the noise of commercial sites. Neocities seems to be doing well, even if most of the sites either seem very dark or pink and sparkly, but no worse than what was being made on Tripod.

Now there's a lot easier ways of expressing yourself on social media.
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2023 @755.13 »

I do think that it's a bit of a mix bag to when it comes to this. As other said, There's people who go out of their way and adapt to modern times, Others just kinda disappeared. Back in the Early 2000's (and well throughout the 2000's), I mainly played a bunch of Flash games and watched flash cartoons on Dialup connection. However, I also went through a bunch of pokemon fan websites and websites that was basically a game on it's own, Probably lost to time. Anyways, I think the answer is more of a mixed bag kind of deal, a bit of a pandoras box even. Plenty of people moved onward towards the current web and like it how it is, Others tend to just keep on having their own sites and even pay for it, But in the end, There's probably so many things that maybe accounted for.
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2023 @991.62 »

Now there's a lot easier ways of expressing yourself on social media.

How is it easier to express yourself on barebones social media platforms where customization is practically nonexistant and content is greatly limited?
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2023 @25.34 »

How is it easier to express yourself on barebones social media platforms where customization is practically nonexistant and content is greatly limited?

It's certainly easier these days I'd say to find and join communities, put information about yourself out in the open through a bio, and get discovered through that on social media, more than it is on the indie web where discoverability and community is very limited and expressing yourself takes a lot of work.

Customization and freedom of content, form and style is one thing, but we can't deny that modern social media allows people to build their own "brand" with their identity a lot more: pride flags in profile pictures, viral posts, discoverability, and so on.

For example, if I had an Instagram account, it would take me only ten minutes to set it up, put my identity in my bio or in the profile picture, upload aesthetic selfies of myself with relevant hashtags, and make some short posts outlining my thoughts, ideas, hobbies and opinions. In comparison, you'd need an entire "about me" page or a blog with pictures and information on your website to express yourself like that, which is hard to create and not even front and center for people who visit you.
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2023 @99.76 »

It's certainly easier these days I'd say to find and join communities, put information about yourself out in the open through a bio, and get discovered through that on social media, more than it is on the indie web where discoverability and community is very limited and expressing yourself takes a lot of work.

Customization and freedom of content, form and style is one thing, but we can't deny that modern social media allows people to build their own "brand" with their identity a lot more: pride flags in profile pictures, viral posts, discoverability, and so on.

For example, if I had an Instagram account, it would take me only ten minutes to set it up, put my identity in my bio or in the profile picture, upload aesthetic selfies of myself with relevant hashtags, and make some short posts outlining my thoughts, ideas, hobbies and opinions. In comparison, you'd need an entire "about me" page or a blog with pictures and information on your website to express yourself like that, which is hard to create and not even front and center for people who visit you.

Eh, I think that has more to do with with branding one's self and getting discovered more than actual self expression. If my bigger concern is getting people to notice me, then I guess it works for that. But to actually express myself and make something my own, I feel having a personal webpage is much better for that.

Depends on how you see it I guess.
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2023 @350.15 »

How is it easier to express yourself on barebones social media platforms where customization is practically nonexistant and content is greatly limited?

Because they just want to post about what they find interesting and have their say. They don't want or need to faff around creating anything more. Some find a comfortable half-way house on places like Tumblr or Adobe Portfolio.

It's unfortunate, but even when people put their heart and soul into creating their personal "real HTML" pages, most will be left unloved and untouched within 2 years. Many will not even last that long before being abandoned.

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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2023 @975.76 »

To my knowledge these users either moved onto whatever was the largest sites at the time (I.e Reddit, Twitter, et al), or they went into the more lesser known parts (I.e IRC, XMPP, et al) that isn't as easy to locate. They're still online, but in more obscure and remote parts of the internet if they didn't join sites like Reddit.
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2023 @156.86 »

They never left. Everyone is on Twitter, Mastodon, or Tumblr, these days. The 2000s wasn't that long ago, you would have seen many netizens that were active back then without realising.

Less and less people made websites over time, as free web hosting solutions were pretty awful before Neocities turned up. Old free hosting sites had strict bandwidth and upload limits.

By the mid 2000s, people started to move to Livejournal, Blogger, DeviantArt, and various other sites, since they were much easier to use and manage than a website. Why spend money on making a website, when you could use some other service for free instead? Especially when everyone else is using said service, and you'll be guaranteed that more people will see what you post. This was in an era when these new services started to overtake personal websites in search engine page rankings. When you did a search on Google for a video game series for example, the results would be mostly fan sites in the early to mid 2000s.

To my knowledge these users either moved onto whatever was the largest sites at the time (I.e Reddit, Twitter, et al), or they went into the more lesser known parts (I.e IRC, XMPP, et al) that isn't as easy to locate. They're still online, but in more obscure and remote parts of the internet if they didn't join sites like Reddit.

I would say they're a minority, aside from the more tech inclined users.
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2023 @324.43 »

I mean, a lot of people just grew up. It's what has happened to most of my friends from that era. We got older, we grew up, had our own personal obligations and if we used the internet, we migrated to the major platforms that now dominate the space. In my case, a lot of my old buddies and clanmates from various games have lost interest and moved on. It's just what it is.
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