My internet journey
I knew how to use a computer ever since I was around... 4 I think? DON'T WORRY, I WAS ON MY DAD'S LAP PFFFFT! I remember slowly waiting for AOL to boot up and hear that beautiful dial-up sound - music to my ears. After hearing that, I'd spend time on the Noggin, PBS Kids, Nick Jr., and Sesame Street websites. I also had a computer class in preschool which introduced me to the wonder of CD-ROM games. Lemme tell ya, the Encore Sesame Street games and Jumpstart were THE SHIT. (RIP Jumpstart mang)
A few years later, I slowly became more independent and had less and less supervision - eh, don't shame my parents too hard, divorce does some wacky things and they still tried their best. I discovered Deviantart when I found Powerpuff Girls fanart, and that was my first taste of Big Boy Internet. God, I miss when that site was the place for art. I then got into Pokemon and discovered how great YouTube was through Marriland's Pokemon Diamond LP. I also remember going to fansites like Lugia.us - man I miss sites like that. I then started making my own profiles online. First my mom made me a YouTube account that she supervised - I think I was 10 at that point. I was introduced to the world of Blingees, One True Media slideshows, edgy Windows Movie Maker AMVs, and the very thing that started my online footprint...
SONIC. RECOLORS. (dun dun duuuun!!!)
At age 11, I made my first DeviantART and a new YouTube account that reflected my new online identity. For the first couple of years, I mainly posted edits of whatever bases that worked with MS Paint. (Fun fact: I had an account purely for traced Sonic X bases so I had an excuse to post traced art - I was somehow both really stupid and really crafty) Then, slowly but surely, I started making my own art! It was shit, but my own shit.
As I got older, the internet became more and more homogenized. I was only really using Deviantart, Tumblr (pre-prawn-ban), and Skype. Then Deviantart and Skype both started to suck ass so... now it's Twitter and Discord. Yeah. So yeah, I saw the internet become crap and corporate in real-time. Maaan, having to migrate to Twitter did hell for me. I became a sucker to the algorithm and numbers and went through some things I'm not very proud of that ended with emotional turmoil. There's still plenty of great communities online, but man, I miss the cozy fansites and forums and ACTUALLY GOOD ART SITES AAAA. I miss when the biggest internet dramas were "Crystal the Hedgehog stole Buttons the Cat's design and Buttons and cheated on Jeff the Echidna" and not "Beloved creator FlumbyPumby turns out to be a transphobic asshole and committed a felony."
k cool but how did I learn to code?
I learned to code from a site called Pokefarm, a Pokemon virtual pet site. You can make really nice intricate profile and forum codes. I wanted my page to look pretty, so I made it look pretty. I used to have a bunch of free-to-use codes there. I had many ups and downs with that site, but I do thank it for how it affected my ability to make a cute little page for myself. A big inspiration for my visual style came from Tumblr themes, especially the pretty About Me pages. Man, remember when people made fun of those pages? We treated them like how people treat Carrd pages now. I also got a lot of inspiration from old pixel doll sites and the fansites I'd stare at. Fun fact, my Sunshine Lovers site was very heavily inspired by Lugia.us - I took a trip down memory lane and was like "yeah... that's the good shit."
Honestly, discovering Neocities was one of the coolest things to happen to me. I can finally relive my childhood. Now if only hosting forums and art sites weren't so fucking expensive - we'd be set for life if we had those back.