Why Preserve This Bit of Internet History?

Today, some of the spirit of late 90s/early 2000s fansites lives on in fandom, even though the days of iframes (and the days of single-creator fansites, to be honest) seem to be long past. Back then we would have killed for the sheer number of resources at a content creator's disposal today, and I love seeing how current creators are taking full advantage of it, achieving farther and wider spreads of information and fandom than we could have dreamed possible in the early 2000s. Today is such an awesome time to be part of a fandom, and it's never been easier to join in and create your own stuff for said fandom. In a sense, our work paved the way for what's happening right now in fandom, and it feels pretty neat to be part of that little bit of history and culture.

Yet I still think there's a personal touch in self-created, single-creator fansites that is often missing from the seemingly professional-grade, fact- and analysis-based sites of today. I remember a time when sites did not have to look so perfect and polished--in fact, many of us have funny and fond memories of super cringey design choices that we thought were "the bomb.com" (y'all remember animated GIF backgrounds, autoplaying background music, and text marquees? LOL!). But even as silly as that seems now, this was all part of the fansite experience. I'm sure many of us also remember crafting long-winded essays about our faves (problematic or not), and how our fansites enabled us to make close friends across great distances, which was wild and new territory back then. We wrote and designed what we wanted, and our passion alone carried us far. At least that's how it was for me!

In that time, too, flame wars, comment wars, and Discourse with a capital D were certainly there, just as they are today. But these highly negative and destructive tropes of fandom were not quite as easily widespread as current technologies allow them to be. One felt at least a little bit freer to be oneself without worrying about whether the fandom police were gonna come a-knocking. Though maybe that was just because less people in general would see each individual site...maybe if we'd had the Internet like it is today, we would have torn into each other over ships and stans too. Something tells me human nature doesn't change that much, LOL!!

I suppose in doing this little site, I'm trying to remember how personal and friendly the Internet used to seem to me. Though my perspective is likely biased through the rosy lens of happy memories, I hope that these same memories can inspire folks to create what they like again, not just what they think others will click on, not just what others agree with. Maybe we can preserve a little of that innocence, a little of that wild creativity, a little bit of that freedom, through remembering.

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