There's a bit of longing I feel when I think about Geocities and the dot com bubble. The web was already 16.3 years old when I was born, and rather than growing up hands on with the internet, I remember often watching my dad surf the web or seeing my sister play games on the desktop. Even though the interwebs was a large part of our household (as my dad was very interested in computers) it was supplemental in my childhood. I spent more time rewatching cassette tapes and sticking forks in the VCR player.
So why exactly do I feel nostalgia when it comes to personal sites and the like?
Geocities may be gone but many sites under it have been saved thanks to archives. It's crazy to think that a 15 year old who was working on their site in 1998 is now 37, reaching their forties. And yet their interests, music tastes might be immortalized on the web, almost like it's frozen in time. Not only that, but broken links might once have led to someone else's site, where you could see things they liked, and so on. And this was all just in one neighborhood. The interwebs are a vast place, so there were thousands of neighborhoods and webrings, and within those places were thousands of people with their own sites and interests. I can't put it into words but visiting archives for someone's site makes me want to know where they are now and if they still remember that they had a Geocities site. I wanted to experience that kind of thing, to have my own site, to be part of a neighborhood or network, even though I never even had a site of my own back then.
VCR → DVD → ??? (2010)
Whether it was the news announcing it or my parents telling me I no longer remember, but I heard that Blockbuster was finally going under and a new streaming service called 'Netflix' was quickly taking its place. I recall wondering how interesting it was that things we were used to eventually became obsolete. I didn't understand the concept of Netflix at the time (I couldn't understand how so many movies and shows could be "streamed" online since I grew up with everything having physical copies), but I realized that one day I might even end up abandoning DVDs for this new streaming service.
Fliphone → Sidekick → Early smartphones (2010-2013)
My sister's pink Motorola fliphone. I couldn't forget it even if I tried since I also loved it, though not as much as she did. It had a certain smell to it, like a mix of plastic and aluminum, and it creaked whenever it opened and closed. It met its unfortunate end when she accidentally dropped it into the toilet, but soon after she got another fliphone. I don't remember too much about that one. I also had a fliphone when I was really young, the carrier was AT&T. I don't think it had any service. I played Frogger on it before opening the back and pulling out some important wiring because I was too curious. My parents were really upset about that. (I don't blame them)
Just a bit later my sister switched her fliphone in for a sidekick.