River Kingdom - Blog

Clip art of a computer monitor with a waterfall flowing out of it.

Hello World - My impressions of NeoCities so far

August/September, 2022

This community has a lot of cool designs. A lot of them remind me of retro Tumblr themes (and I would be surprised if at least a few weren't directly ported from them), but, since webmasters have full control over their site here, many have found improved ways of formatting their art galleries and blogs. (...And some are even more of a jumbled mess than a Tumblr or DeviantArt folder).

One thing that surprised me are the age demographics here. If the About Me pages are to be believed, some of the most impressive and most viewed sites here are made by teenagers and people in their early 20s who, in all likelihood, hadn't even used the internet when GeoCities was shut down in 2009. These are people born in the 2000s and were only a few years old back then!

I think that's incredible, and it proves the fascination with, not just early web aesthetics, but, early web culture remains alive and well. The most important part of the early days of the web was not the designs (which, admittedly, were cool), but cyber culture itself.

Some other sites appear to be direct copies of the webmasters' original GeoCities pages!

I'm speculating and may be wrong, since I obviously haven't looked at every site, but it I wonder if the largest demographic here are younger Millennials/older Gen Z who have some fleeting memories of the '90s and early-to-mid '00s web, but were too young to be full-on internet addicts or webmasters by the time we entered into the social media Web 2.5 era.

If so, that means the community on NeoCities truly does have the potential to be more than a passing fad (unlike, say, a retro vaporwave Tumblr theme). It really could be the nucleus for a real revival of cyber culture and the spirit of the very lively communities that were dissolved by the mass-migration to social media and content aggregation sites.

On the other hand, maybe it is just another passing gimmick driven by the 20-year nostalgia cycle and people will soon move on to the next thing. (Are we going to get 2010s nostalgia in the 2030s? What would that even look like?)