Geocities, home of my original Jamfan2:Web website. Back in the year 2000, I had just gotten to college at The University of Colorado at Boulder. The web was just really beginning to hit the mainstream, and everyday users were just starting to get into publishing their own webpages. One of the first major platforms for publishing to the web was Geocities. I built my first website on Geocities in order to distribute photos and news of my activities to friends and family – and to experiment with web publishing. Now, Geocities is long gone, but the entire geocities archive still lives on in The Deleted City. The full archive of Geocities is also available as a torrent.
Additionally, my original website has been archived forever by The Wayback Machine in the Internet Archive. Take a look for yourself, and see what was on my mind in 2000.
After creating my first site on Geocities, I soon moved over to using the first version of Blogger. Once on blogger, I bought my first domain name – ILikeLasagna.com. After blogger, I had a period of time without much web presence, and then switched over to my current platform, WordPress. Including my Geocities site, I’ve been publishing on the web for over 11 years. That’s a long time of being a geek. ;)
The Deleted City is a digital archaeology of the world wide web as it exploded into the 21st century. At that time the web was often described as an enormous digital library that you could visit or contribute to by building a homepage. The early citizens of the net (or netizens) took their netizenship serious, and built homepages about themselves and subjects they were experts in. These pioneers found their brave new world at Geocities, a free webhosting provider that was modelled after a city and where you could get a free “piece of land” to build your digital home in a certain neighbourhood based on the subject of your homepage. Heartland was – as a neigbourhood for all things rural – by far the largest, but there were neighbourhoods for fashion, arts and far east related topics to name just a few. Around the turn of the century, Geocities had tens of millions of “homesteaders” as the digital tennants were called and was bought by Yahoo! for three and a half billion dollars. Ten years later in 2009, as other metaphors of the internet (such as the social network) had taken over, and the homesteaders had left their properties vacant after migrating to Facebook, Geocities was shutdown and deleted. In an heroic effort to preserve 10 years of collaborative work by 35 million people, the Archive Team made a backup of the site just before it shut down. The resulting 650 Gigabyte bittorrent file is the digital Pompeii that is the subject of an interactive excavation that allows you to wander through an episode of recent online history.