Internet memories from the 00s

an animated separator line made to look like it's dripping slime

Having been born in 1997, I was just slightly too young to enjoy the internet in the 90s, but within the first few years of the 00s, I had unfettered internet access (for better or worse) via the family computer, which I mostly used to play Neopets, draw in MS Paint, and make shitty powerpoints.

From the time I knew what a website was, I've always loved the idea of building my own. Some of my earliest memories involve using the family computer to make fake websites in Microsoft Word of all things. Eventually I moved on to using Webs (or FreeWebs as it was called at the time) to build all sorts of websites for anything I could think of. If I recall, FreeWebs only let you make one website per account, so every time I wanted to make a new website, I would make a new account with a new burner email. Unfortunately, all these websites are lost now, and it was so long ago there's no hope of me remembering what any of the sites were about. I only remember loading every single page with horrible autoplay midis. Ah, the early aughts...

Eventually I discovered proboards and started using it to make a bunch of free forums that only I ever frequented. Despite the distinct lack of users besides myself, I moderated them diligently. Every day I would come up with new boards to add to my forums, new activities for my "members", new ways to customize the sites I made. I found myself often inspired by the types of boards I frequented on Neopets and Gaia Online (which I was way too young to be using, but I did anyway)

I remember the only active member I ever had on any of my proboards forums was someone who's username was simply "Anon." I was young at the time and didn't realize that anon was short for anonymous, so I assumed that was their name. They seemed amused by the fact that I was moderating an empty forum so diligently all by myself, but they posted regularly, if only to bemusedly ask me once again why I bothered making new boards for an empty forum. It was less about the members, more about feeling like I had my own little community I was running (even if the "community" was a bit lacking)

I never used geocities during it's time. It's not that I was too young for it, on the contrary, I was perfectly within my website-making frenzy phase during it's peak. Rather, I either simply hadn't heard of it, or didn't know how to use it (I wasn't exactly knowledgable in html or css, besides using it to make rudimentary pet pages on Neopets) but I know that if I had known about it, I would have loved it and made all sorts of websites, the same way I did with FreeWebs. In a way, this website is my way of allowing myself to reconnect with my younger self's fascination with website building.

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