Hello brave netizen! If you’ve found your way onto this guide then you have embarked on the first exciting step into the web revival. This guide will give you the low down on all things web! By the end of it you’ll know what the web revival is, what it stands for, and how you can take part in it; grab your browser because surfs up on the net and we’re goin.. er.. surfin!
What is the Web Revival??
Web Revival is one name for an internet based movement that has a bunch of names, here are a few of them;
- Web Revival - This name comes from the Folk Revival of the 1930s-70s, its about reviving the spirit of the early web in the modern age
- Old Web - This name also evokes the spirit of the early web, its favoured by sites that focus on older technology and styles, for example The Old Net
- Web 1.0 Movement - This name refers the simple static sites of the 90s and is similar to Old Net
- Smol/Small Web - This name is often favoured by minimalist sites such as m15o’s Status.Cafe
- Neocities - A brand name for the web hosting company and community that houses many web revival sites
- Yesterweb - A brand name for the yesterweb forum and community with a focus on social activism
- Indieweb - A loose web collective, mainly with professional web developers, it is less related to the web revival
So what ties it all together?
Web Revival enthusiasts come from all walks of life, however most share a few things in common and I will TRY to list them here:
- Creativity comes first - They value creative expression and the ability to customise and decorate their digital spaces.
- The Web is Friendly - Most are inclusive and value warm genuine interactions, egos should take a back seat here.
- Non Social-Media - Most are sick of social media, they dislike its drama and often toxic cultural impact.
- Right to Repair - They value the freedom to control their own data and understand the tools they use.
- Money is not the goal - They dislike the corporate webs obsession with monetisation, professionalism and branding.
- One World-Wide-Web - They value the ideals of free shared information and global connectivity expressed on the early internet.
- Messy things are OK - Things don't need to be perfect, we want our web lives to be fun ones not flawless ones.
- No to Crypto - To most, crypto currencies, the “Web3" and NFTs are not welcome.
These ideals are expressed by creating websites, homepages, zines, forums, podcasts and more! The goal is simply to find what was best about the early web, find whats best about new technology, mix the two; kick all the Mark Zuckerberg's and Elon Musk's to the curb and get on with living our best lives.
I was once browsing Key's Klubhouse and it had a gif declaring “Cringe culture is dead”, I think that line captures the spirit of the web revival perfectly; Cringe culture is dead, everything is cool now.
It's important not to confuse the web revival with artistic styles such as Vaporwave; an example of Vaporwave is Poolsuite. The web revival is NOT vaporwave; while there may be visual similarities, most vaporwave communities and platforms do not share the same values as the web revival.
Aside: When we say “the early web”, we are talking to the Tim Burners Lee vision of the web that was focused on the open exchange of information among all humanity; mixed with the chaos of Geocities. Geocities was an early web hosting platform that became many peoples first experience of “owning” their own space on the world wide web, it lead to some crazy designs and free expression that was more or less forgotten after social media appeared in the 00s.
Aside: What is “free expression and freedom online”? Free expression is the ability to show your true self online, to share the things you love in a way you love; without having to conform to any platform or social pressure. Free expression in the web revival community does not mean hate speech or putting down others. To hate is to put yourself in a prison of your own making; and that will never fly with web revival people.
Random things that have a big influence in the web revival community: Olia Lialina (Web Artist), Hackers (1995 Movie), Kyle Drake (Founder of Neocities), Geocities (Early 90s Web Host)
How to surf the web!
Surfing the web is about going on an adventure, it's about clicking links and seeing where they go. You wont find web revival sites on typical search engines, you wont find them on social media sites and there is no algorithm that will pick them out for you. To surf the web revival, you start on one site, you find links and you follow the trail; be brave, explore, keep going, keep going!
I have a little challenge for you!
- Click here!
- Find the links page on the site you just opened.
- Pick a badge (The little rectangular images) you think looks cool and click it.
- A new site will open, then find that sites links, look for another badge and click it!
- Keep going, see how far you can go before you reach a dead end!
Whats in it for me? Why make a site?
Thats a fair question, why should you invest your time and energy in the web revival? Maybe you relate to some of the ideals listed above, or maybe you're not sure; ideals are nice, but life is not about ideals. I challenge you; don’t think about the web revival as a resource for you to exploit; instead it's an offer, to play, to explore the unknown, to do something just for fun; not for money, or status, or because it's trendy.
Maybe you’ll get nothing out of it, but I think you will! Like many others I think you’ll find peace, freedom and relief from stress in creating your own digital world and owning your own space. Play is not about passing time, it's about inventing and becoming who you are and who you wish to become. You deserve to experience a web where you are free to be who you wanna be and do what you wanna do; one where you decide how to spend your time, not an algorithm that exploits you for profit. The web revival cant fix everything wrong in the world, but we can make it better, one little homepage at a time.
How do I take part?
If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, thats wonderful! There are lots of ways you can join in, but the best way is to make your own website! Mosey on over to the next guide to learn the basics of a web revival site ———>