Recently, I’ve been doing a little internet archeology by checking out some old websites from the 90’s and early 2000’s. I like to see what people thought and wrote about before the internet was so obsessed with itself and usually it’s pretty entertaining.
Between the .gifs and gaudy wallpapers, one design feature I noticed is that the writing on these websites seemed to be written as a permanent record. Every page was carefully planned, written out, and appropriately linked. Each page served a purpose (to pass along a specific set of information) and when put altogether the sum of those parts created this interlocking website.
Blogs didn’t exist yet, and not too many websites featured journals. A lot of the sites were fan sites that discussed a specific interest such a movie, book series, television show, or hobby. The sites were designed to teach the readers something, share graphics, and at times connect fans through Web Rings and Guestbooks. Everything was designed intentionally.
Now… I feel like few sites have this type of design. Instead, we opt to allow Wiki’s to serve as a database of knowledge and instead we just write. Those entries get shuffled down the page as the weeks pass and eventually our posts are forgotten. You don’t see links to them from the home page and unless you click “More Posts”, “Other Posts”, or go digging, they aren’t easily accessible. I guess, for something that is designed to serve as simply a journal this is fine, but I wonder what have we lost by not actually having pages. As much as I love my minimalistic look here on Write.As, I do feel a bit handcuffed by design options.
I guess, when I reflect on my own experiences with blogging, I feel as if my writing is more temporary now. I write a post, some people might read it, get gets shuffled and forgotten. Sure, I can break things down by Categories and maybe a new reader will be willing to wade through the old posts for little nuggets of gold, but for the most part my writing seems to serve its purpose for the day its published and then no more.
If I wanted to write something more concrete and permanent, a traditional website might be a better platform. However, those seem to be few and far between these days.
Have we lost something by not writing pages and instead focusing on just simple posts? Or are the way we blog simply the evolution of how webmastering changed? And was it for the better?