Your space, online

It's not a Myspace joke that wasn't a thing here when I was young we had Hyves and by we I mean my peers cos I never made one for some reason. Woo the Netherlands!
What I do mean by it is how people often describe their work online, specifically very personal projects they share more for themselves than others. Neocities is a massive platform for that, and if I had to mention any other sites I'd say Tumblr, though the difference there is that I'm quite certain it wasn't Tumblr's intention to be in this category.

Because it's not profitable.

It is the least profitable thing an online platform could possibly give it's users.

And simultaneously the most healthy way of providing people with their own online space. How often haven't you visited a (personal) page where the creator called it "their own little place on the internet" or "my personal online space" or something of that nature? Because places like that still feel like they belong to the creator. Neocities allows it to an extreme extent, with people creating websites that'd be at home in the mid-2000s, often completely non-mobile friendly (and proud of it!), people sharing pixel art they like or small banners with images or text that reflects their opinions and interests in some way, something that makes me think of the giant walls of buttons people used to have on DeviantArt in its early days.

But I'm not just talking about old web nostalgia

when I watch movies or play games I don't just take into account anymore if I think they're objectively "good". Honestly that doesn't mean anything anymore. Something can be high quality and suck balls. Everything about it is worked out well; people worked on it who knew what they were doing, it was tested to death, the marketing was on point, it reached all the people it wanted to reach... But it has no fucking soul. Cos none of those things have anything to do with soul. And the internet hasn't had a soul in years.

Everything is thought out by experts, analysed by specialists, re-designed every six months or so. More often depending on what exactly the website is for. Algorithms are checked, SEO perfected, inclusivity and accesibility gurus hired. And that's fine, and it gives people work and it serves a purpose. But it results in soullessness. Honestly if your website is among the top ten visited its not likely to have a soul. That's a stupid way to phrase it; it doesn't. And none of those top ten people will ever read this. Hell none of the top one hundred would. Websites that still have a soul don't make money.

They're passion projects, often run by one person, back in the day maybe a small team but I don't think many of those are still around. All I can think of in that category are game review websites and those need to compete with each other too, and fiercely so. Gotta apply that pesky SEO, make sure we're one of the first hits when people Google [new game]'s name!!!

At this point the internet is a vast place

There's... just a lot of it, to phrase it stupidly. And there was when I was a kid too, but somehow it seemed so much easier to find sites ran by some person from their home computer, about how to get the cutest dog breed in Petz, or a big list of all the dollmakers they'd collected over the years, or how much they fuckin loved Card Captor Sakura and all the art of it they'd scanned in for others to look at, and reviews they wrote of each episode they'd watched.

Did they do it for themselves? I mean, at the core of it. But you don't throw something online just so you can look at it and go "oh yeah I did that". You want other people to see it. That's true now, and it was back then. You look at how many people have visited your page. It might be really demotivating to find how little time people spend there, or maybe a specific page gets a lot of traffic while something you're more passionate about gets nearly nothing (lets just say I'm glad I have no idea how many people look at my movie blogs). It can be really demotivating, which is why I do think it's good to not track activity on your personal projects (like my movie blogs as I was saying). Neocities offers a personal view counter, both for your own site and any on their platform you look up in their database. Just the one. And I do think that can be motivating, and it might pique your interest more to see a site have a lot of hits or very little when the preview does appeal to you, for example.

But that's the thing, that's kinda where it starts. Where it started. Originally that was all it was. Now its grown into this business of clicks and screentime and algorithms and cookies.

It's not about you anymore

Or me. Or a person. It's about "the user". Hell it's not even really about "the user", it's about what "the user" might buy. Or how to keep "them" on the page as long as possible. Likely for ad reasons. To make more money.
It's why recipe websites have huge stories about the writer's nan's cold hailstorm winters day in november of 1974 ragout recipe before talking about how to make the damn ragout (which nowadays is usually even extended by including substitutions and paragraphs about ingredient prep under nan's frozen ass pasta sauce story).
Why when you google how to do something in a videogame you're stuck in you have to fucking control+f the page to re-type your question cos the dickhead that wrote the article at the top of the page talks for ages about random shit in the game before getting to the point.
There's no soul because soul doesn't make money. And money kills passion. This is the hippiest fuckin thing I've ever written but it's true and there's no other way to word it.

I want to end positively though

Yeah great title for the final paragraph I know I know. Whatever I call it is fine anyway, cos I made this and it's going up regardless of anything else, since I don't have to take into account any of the factors I bitched about on the rest of this page.

I called the internet vast, which it is, and a lot of us are nostalgic for the old web, which makes perfect sense, and I said that current web design has no soul. But I want to make it clear I don't mean that creating things online nowadays is pointless. Good God it's probably more worth it than its ever been. The internet needs more passion projects. Please fuckin write what you want online. Slap your thoughts on a page. Doesn't matter if it's a single page where people can scroll for ages to see everything you put on it. Make it play your favourite music (I personally hate it when a website starts autoplaying music but that doesn't matter cos its *YOUR* space!!! Do what you want!!!). Make it so unresponsive people on mobile can't even fuckin see it. Use the smallest font you can in white on a pastel pink background cos its cute and you love cute and look how tiny you made your website, it'd fit in the palm of your hand.

Just... Please, fucking make it. You put your heart in it so it'll always be good enough. Make this vast space a little more interesting.