Has the web become boring?
March 27, 2002 7:06 PM   Subscribe

Has the web become boring? (NYT link, registration required) With the demise of the Cool Site of the Day and the transition of MetaFilter to NewsFilter, the question is posed: Where have all the interesting sites gone? Is this the end of the Web as we know it? (...And do you feel fine?)
posted by dogmatic (59 comments total)
"Imminent Death Of The Web Predicted!"

Seriously, though, if you think the web is out of interesting sites, you must not surf very much.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:18 PM on March 27, 2002

I'm working on coming out with a new web site that will blow your mind, just hold up for a couple months until I'm out of school so I can start to work on it. It's tough going to college. I don't have time for everything ok? WAIT UP... and that goes for the death of philosophy post too....I can't do everything at once, wait up.
posted by banished at 7:23 PM on March 27, 2002

'It's tough going to college' - Yeah right.

This might help. A list of sites of the day, month, etc.

Atapueraca - There's an interesting site for you.
posted by RobertLoch at 7:31 PM on March 27, 2002

I look at the interesting sites on the web now and then as I do toward that part of any city where there were cool bars and restaurants flying under the radar in the entertainment sections of the newspapers.

The places rocked, the people were interesting, conversation intelligent and you could just get a nod from a stranger because they knew your face and your weren't an idiot (that often). All of the sudden with a new economy, out come the entrepreneurs painting and sprucing up the once old and tired neighborhood. New owners and awnings over the old establishments attracting an clientele that cares only for the glam associated with the renaming of the nabe. So you put your ear to the ground, listen up, hop a bus and head on over to where the new happening is happening.

When you get to where you are going, you walk in, take a seat and mind your manners for a while because it isn't exactly the same as it was. Most certainly, the last thing you do is decry yourself as a "frontiersperson" and think you are sly about talking up your "online gaming company" as a replacement for the old nabe.

Please. It is a big world out there.
posted by lampshade at 7:33 PM on March 27, 2002

The web is becoming boring like televangelists don't ask for money... it just ain't happenin', folks!
posted by crankydoodle at 7:39 PM on March 27, 2002

So, I've gotta ask. Was the comment about MeFi becoming NewsFi actually supposed to be a joke?
posted by Su at 7:43 PM on March 27, 2002

so the length of an average online session decreased 7% between march of '00 and '01. that doesnt mean the web is dying at all. hell, it could even mean the web has evolved to become more efficient, and provide the majority of people online with the specific content they are looking for (if any) faster than before and thus allowing them to sign off earlier.
whatever, the web is very much alive and interesting. and you dont need a "cool website of the day" website telling you what is cool. people should do their own damn searching. it's much more rewarding.
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 7:43 PM on March 27, 2002

Actually, dogmatic, the combined forces of the dotcom crash and the proliferation of broadband and simple, freely available web-creation tools has, as far as I'm concerned made the web more interesting than ever.

We've got personal blogs, micro-radio, community boards, online cooperative open-source development, file sharing...and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head. I frankly believe that only now, because of improved technology, ease of use leading to a larger user base, and the loss of interest among the globomegacorps, is the 'net finally living up to the hype.
And frankly, it dosent seem to be a matter of "cool sites" anymore. The net has become far less static, so it's much easier to watch a site or community develop than it was 4 years ago. So rest easy, dogmatic, the sky is not falling.
posted by jonmc at 7:45 PM on March 27, 2002

The real problem, if you want to call it a problem, is that so many more people are blogging now - that makes the odds of stumbling accross a good one that much less likely. But the good stuff is still there, so long as you're persistent enough to find it.
posted by paddy at 7:51 PM on March 27, 2002

I challenge anyone to dispute this comment: The web in the past 5 years has been several times more interesting, funny and enlightening than decades of television.
posted by davebush at 7:55 PM on March 27, 2002

Hrm. Maybe I should clarify.

I don't think that the web is going anywhere, quickly or not. But what I'm asking is why (or even if) the focus of the web seems to be changing -- hence, end of the Web as we know it. It seems to me that there were more interesting links to be found even just two years ago, and even a cursory glance at weblogs around shows that new links to interesting and innovative sites have become sparse. Or that could just be me.

While I'm sure that the web is not shrinking, there seems to be less that we haven't already seen. Which leads me to believe that the new and creative content that captivated us in 1999 is either not being produced, or not being picked up as quickly as before.

My own theory is that we've caught up to the number of cool sites being produced through a more efficient process of information dispersal. The pages that might have been stumbled upon through secondary links or word-of-mouth two years ago are passed on much more quickly through communities like MeFi and the like.

And no Su, the comment about NewsFi wasn't sarcastic. Compare the ratio of non-news links to news links from two years ago (link above) to today's front page.
posted by dogmatic at 7:59 PM on March 27, 2002

I think another reason why people might be spending less time online is that people are getting faster connections and not wasting their time watching pages load.
posted by panopticon at 8:29 PM on March 27, 2002

It's the end of the Web as we know it
and I feel fine.

Of course the "focus" of the Web is changing. It's been changing since it began. Change is it's nature. If you want static, buy a book or watch TV.
posted by dchase at 8:37 PM on March 27, 2002

i would argue that the focus on weblogs themselves has made the web less interesting, more predictable—too much of the way weblogs are organized is determined by usability design, etc. (look at the number of weblogs, even the most amateurish ones, that use the left-hand nav bar, and you'll see what i mean.) so much of the fun of the web of old came from the unpredictable way information was organized; now reverse-chron has become a way of life. and i do think that form, in this case, leads function.
posted by maura at 8:42 PM on March 27, 2002

The web is less exciting today because it's no longer a frontier. In 1995, there was a sense of heightened possibility among web publishers and surfers because no one had made up the rules yet. Everyone was getting in on the ground floor of a new mass medium.

One of the more entertaining things about the early web publishing community was the number of people who had never accomplished anything before they started publishing in hypertext.

It was a case of reverse Darwinism -- the people who were successful in their programming, journalism, graphic design, or business careers in 1995 didn't have time to learn HTML and jump on the web first. Which left the place to us failures.

We had no idea what we were doing. The land rush to learn HTML, stake your claim, and be a part of this creative community was huge. People were becoming multimillionaires by accident.

Today, we've settled the web. The experts have arrived. We teach it in schools. How could that not be less exciting?

However, I think the Times writer is wrong to claim a scarcity of wonderfully bent sites. I could list 100, but two recent finds will suffice: Rocklopedia Fakebandica, a comprehensive reference to fictional musical groups in TV, books, or movies; and Finland's Prime-Number Shitting Bear.

Also, I wish the story had addressed a final reason for ennui. The crowd from 1995 has put in enough Internet time to be Internet senior citizens at this point. Of course we're burned out, jaded, and bitter. We've been around too long to harbor any illusions about how much better, smarter, richer, or happier web publishing is going to make us.

If the Times wants to see energy and a sense of wonder, they should ignore fossils like Davis (and me) and talk to some of the teens and and others who are publishing on the web for the first time. The kids who are growing up today with the web as a given are going to do amazing things with it.
posted by rcade at 9:06 PM on March 27, 2002

In the early days of html, it was easy to put together a website, and make something new. The building blocks of websites have become more complex with javascript, flash, xml, dhtml, php, asp, and others. There's more to see, and more to do. Interactivity has increased tremendously. A toastercam is no longer the wonder that it once was.

Blogging makes it easy for people to self publish, and people are. Newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and other traditional offline media are using the web more fully. Businesses are building better web sites. Small businesses still have a decent chance to outperform large businesses if they follow intelligent business plans. Groups of people with shared interests are able to ignore geography and have conversations.

Direct marketing on the web brings us goods from around the world at prices that rival what can be had at the kmart or walmart. Goverment services are becoming more common as time goes on, including filing taxes, paying traffic tickets, applying for fishing licenses, and many others. The online world is meeting up with the world outside the internet, and many of the services becoming available are making the web a more task oriented place to visit. Many people who wouldn't have gone online just to surf the web are going online to buy, or to sell on auctions like ebay, or to find information, or to read the news.

The internet is still in its infancy. It is just less of a curiosity in itself than it was. The real excitement is in how the online world, and the offline world intersect and transform our lives.
posted by bragadocchio at 9:36 PM on March 27, 2002

hey, NYT, don't ask for whom the bell tolls...
posted by tsarfan at 9:51 PM on March 27, 2002

The web is the culmination of having any question answered, any topic covered, any laugh needed to be had, any fantasy needed to be gotten off on, all in the comfort of one's own personal environment.

As I'm sure it occurs to all of us from time to time: What was it people did when they needed a question answered in the middle of the night on a holiday (or anytime for that matter)? You either forgot about it or you were obsessed enough to stroll all the way to the library once it finally opened up. And that says nothing about the patent lack of search strings in microfiche and books and magazines made of trees. I can't fathom why anyone would ever dare call the web 'boring' or even 'less cool' than it once was.
posted by crasspastor at 9:54 PM on March 27, 2002

The crowd from 1995 has put in enough Internet time to be Internet senior citizens at this point. Of course we're burned out, jaded, and bitter.

I'm with you on the burned out part, at least. I started creating web sites in '94 and somewhere along the line got less and less interested in pursuing my personal web projects. Nowadays I'm more a browser than a creator. Most of my time goes into creating sites for clients as part of my day job. And it's hard to get inspired when the only things I seem to help create are the umpteenth message board, login/registration system and searchable TV schedule.

Um... maybe I'm with you on all three adjectives after all.
posted by nstop at 10:07 PM on March 27, 2002

"and the transition of MetaFilter to NewsFilter"

dear pastel-suited jackal,

don't be so stupid.


posted by jcterminal at 10:11 PM on March 27, 2002

I think what dogmatic may be mourning the passing of (and correct me if I'm wrong, dogmatic) is the newness of the medium itself. It used to be very strange and funny to see a TV commercial or a print ad with a URL. As someone mentioned earlier, a webcam pointed at something was hugely entertaining, just because it was something nobody ever did before. Then it became a cliche - "www.[wittycomment].com" became almost a catchphrase. Now the web is as much a part of some peoples' lives as a TV. 50 or so years ago, people went through much the same experience with TV and radio that we're now going through with the web; the spanking-new revolutionary phase is about over, and the shakedown is happening, possibilities are being explored, and foundations are being built that will support incredible things. Think about how TV shows 50 years ago differ from TV shows now, and you get a sense of how weird the web will be in 5 or 10 years.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:29 PM on March 27, 2002

Why in God's name would we want weblogs that don't follow some semblance of usability? I'm all for variety, but if you're so hung up on showing off your avant-garde design skills that nobody can even figure out where to click to access the various parts of your blog, then you don't have a blog at all. You have artwork.

Hiding information is bad.
posted by aaron at 10:38 PM on March 27, 2002

It's wonderful to have every thought on this subject that crossed your mind already expressed.
posted by ookamaka at 10:59 PM on March 27, 2002

aaron, I think maura's point was just that, on the pre-weblog Web, independent publishers had to work out for themselves the format in which their work would be presented. The absence of an established convention provoked a variety of creative solutions, and this naturally made for a surprise around every corner.

These days, the weblog is the path of least resistance. It used to be pretty easy to tell at a glance the difference between the sites with some real creative energy behind them and the ones that were slapped together. Now, for better or for worse, they all look pretty much the same.
posted by jjg at 11:08 PM on March 27, 2002

Remember how novel VCRs used to be? Everything was "now availble on video cassette!" and people would home record even the most humble of events just to get some meager thrill out of watching the events in playback. (Granted, people still do that now, but not nearly with the furvor and majesty that it once held.) Nearly every Mom&Pop shop would rent out movies on tape—I recall that both 7-Eleven and our neighborhood hardware store once had movies for rent.

After the initial novelty of a new technology wears off, it will head in one of two directions: it'll either be forgetten and become a technological legacy (BETA, anyone?), or it will evolve into a staple of mainstream society. ...And I'd say that the Web has done just that.
posted by Down10 at 11:11 PM on March 27, 2002

so much of the fun of the web of old came from the unpredictable way information was organized

You mean, haphazard and unruly and impossible to find what you were looking for?

Yeah. That was "fun".

Kinda like how chugging down a slurpee and getting a crippling brainfreeze is "fun".
posted by beth at 11:12 PM on March 27, 2002

hey! a good brainfreeze IS fun, damnit.
posted by jcterminal at 11:13 PM on March 27, 2002

the web is less interesting? you poor darlings. now, how about spending a moment or two thinking about the majority of the world who live in poverty, ignorance and oppression. these are the folk who would benefit the most from access to information.

most of the world's population have never been near a computer. and they never will? if you're bored with the net, couldn't making the www into something actually world wide, be of interest?

on the internet map, africa is almost as much of a blank spot as antartica. this digital chasm must be addressed.
posted by quarsan at 11:23 PM on March 27, 2002

jjg- isn't that putting form above content? The early days of the net were(to a large extent)about hashing out the details of the form. Now it's all about content. Although I'm sure new forms will continue to arise.

Did that make sense? I dunno. It's 2:15 am here and I've been drinkin these damn Caribbean Twist things all night. See y'all in the morning.
posted by jonmc at 11:24 PM on March 27, 2002

Nicely said, lampshade. The internet is the biggest challenge to papers and magazines since television, so I'm not expecting their unbiased opinion because they don't have one and if they did they wouldn't share it.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:43 PM on March 27, 2002

Did anyone else catch the Boston Globe article about the future of the "weblogging phenomenon"? One sentence, near the end of article struck me as insightful:

High on the list are ways to help people find blogs that interest them. At present there's no good blog equivalent of Yahoo - a categorical search engine that lists Web sites devoted to specific topics

I dont think a Yahoo-style directory of Blogs is the answer. How do you find, say, that blogger who lives in your town and shares your interests in modern dance, is well-read and active and is somewhat of an expert, full of recommendations and insight and updates their Blog frequently?

There is still fascinating, innovative stuff being produced on the Web. I think its just getting harder to stumble across it accidentally. Instead you find it because you are already looking for it or because someone else has already found it and can point it out to you.

Google came along at the right time. But, something else is needed now.
posted by vacapinta at 11:58 PM on March 27, 2002

jonmc, I'm not saying things were better back then. Just different. Certainly, there were more failures than successes. But some aspect of the joy of exploration is lost when all the sites look pretty much the same.
posted by jjg at 11:58 PM on March 27, 2002

I've been drinkin these damn Caribbean Twist things all night.

Yer teeth are gonna rot out! And/or if you forget to brush tonight you'll wake up with perfectly fit socks for each and every one of them.
posted by crasspastor at 12:11 AM on March 28, 2002

So you're at least partially/tangentially complaining about the posting of news links on MeFi...

...by posting a link to the New York Times. Ohhhhh, I get it now. The fact that it's not a joke is the joke. Like British comedy, right?
*looks around frantically*

The changes in MeFi that have happened over time are another matter entirely, and something that belongs in MeTa, and has already appeared there many, many, many, many...ad nauseum...times. I'm not touching that one.
I don't think we've caught up to the amount of neat stuff being produced. I think people have just become lazy in finding it, if they're even really trying. I'm sure we've all seen the figures as to how much of the total web traffic belongs to something like ten web sites.
posted by Su at 12:18 AM on March 28, 2002

These days, the weblog is the path of least resistance. It used to be pretty easy to tell at a glance the difference between the sites with some real creative energy behind them and the ones that were slapped together. Now, for better or for worse, they all look pretty much the same.

That's because the best writers often are not the best designers, and vice versa, and the number of available free blogger templates is way too close to zero (though blogplates.net is a hopeful start). It used to be that most bloggers WERE designers, now that's changing rapidly. I have long wondered why more good web designers don't approach those popular war/newsbloggers using those hideous generic Blogger templates, and offer to put together an original design for them for some reasonable negotiated fee.
posted by aaron at 1:37 AM on March 28, 2002

Find yourself a couple link-blogs and you'll never get bored.
posted by revbrian at 3:27 AM on March 28, 2002

Does this topic remind anyone else of jaded ex-punk rockers, at a show in the mid-1990's, glaring around the room at all them youngin's in flannel t-shirts moshing it up, lamenting the good ol' days?
posted by adampsyche at 5:25 AM on March 28, 2002

wait, but aaron—what, precisely, is wrong with what you dismiss as 'artwork'? i mean, didn't some of the most well-known bloggers of today originally get known because of their experiments with content , design, and the design of content? isn't that why joshua davis is one of the few people out there whose fame transcends the web - because he's fucking around with interfaces and challenging the user?

as for all you people who are arguing for similarities and predictableness in site design—why should people get every bit of personal web site information they can right straight off? isn't that totally the opposite of how one gets to know a real person? wouldn't it be boring if every person had a left-hand nav, and the same predictable features, and was powered by the same backend? (don't i read snide comments about the gap on this forum all the time?)

let me also say that i don't think you have to know every php, dhtml, or whatever trick to do something different. (especially now.) all this 'it isn't new anymore' attitudinalizing is to me very telling about why the medium might be stagnating—the fact that the concept of personal/noncommercial sites isn't brand-new doesn't mean all the life's been sucked dry from it.

i mean, if we had that attitude permeate every medium then we wouldn't have so many writers, painters, and artists pushing boundaries. yeah getting money is tough, but, you know, it's the same for other types of expression.
posted by maura at 5:51 AM on March 28, 2002

You know, I think the written word is dead.

I mean, I go to bookstores, and all the things they sell have covers, and paper pages... all the text is laid out pretty much the same way -- little black letters on creamy light grey pages. And they have such predictable design.... they all start out on the left, and after a couple hundred pages, then end on the right. And yeah, I've seen some that look different than that, but 99% are that way.

Yeah. Books are dead.
posted by crunchland at 6:17 AM on March 28, 2002

Art is cool. Art is wonderful. Give me more art. Make it eternally unfathomable.

But if people on the street have a hard time finding the art museum, if many walk right past because they didn't even know it was a museum, if they can't figure out how to get into the museum once they find it, if they can't figure out how to work the weird door handles, if once inside they cannot find half of the exhibits -- if they leave early because they have to piss and you hid the real urinals in the Duchamp area, where everyone is afraid to use them -- you've fucked up.

Unless, of course, it's a signs and doors and dare-people-to-piss-on-art museum. Which is fine, but expect people to miss the other wonders you may have hidden inside.
posted by pracowity at 6:18 AM on March 28, 2002

Has the web become boring? Yes.

Because the downside to a technology giving so many people a new platform to be heard on is that so many of them are using it to be heard, and people, for the most part, and especially when they talk on and on about themselves, are boring.

I think the web is totally to opposite of real life interaction - in real life, you ask questions about other people, get to know about them. On the web, you broadcast information about yourself in large, random chunks, regardless of whether or not anyone is asking, in the hopes of interesting someone - in much the same way hookers wear the shortest skirts possible and bend over a lot when potential customers walk by.
posted by kristin at 6:21 AM on March 28, 2002

I have long wondered why more good web designers don't approach those popular war/newsbloggers using those hideous generic Blogger templates, and offer to put together an original design for them for some reasonable negotiated fee.

Because most good web designers wouldn't stoop so low, even if their next meal depended on it?

I think that people talking about the early web as 'all form no function' are wrong, and weren't looking too hard at things like Fray or 0sil8 or Glassdog, which were all really interested in using the open canvas of the web to matching form to function in a way that wasn't possible in print. (And in a way, many old bloggers have been living off that reputation ever since.) Nowadays, certain bits of the web just feel lazy and trashy, and what's sad is that the lazy and trashy bits are celebrated as revolutionary, while at least a few years ago, the real creative stuff was getting its meaningless awards. Aren't so many blogs boilerplate in content as well as appearance, everyone wanting to be the next Kottke or Dave Winer or Andrew Sullivan. Isn't the glorious standardisation of independent publishing basically 'all format, no content'? (This answers your point, crunchland.) I'd hate to feel that a new arrival would come to the web for the first time and be led to believe that a bog-standard me-blog represents the absolute peak of what can be done with the medium. I suspect, though, that it's more and more likely.
posted by quirkafleeg at 6:22 AM on March 28, 2002

hmmm, bloggers will pay money to get their sites designed. There is a reason why good web designers do not approach bloggers, aaron, even designers need to make a living.

I would rather design for a godawful paying client and deal with their crap, then for a self-involved, personal, watch me change the world thru my ignorance, see how cool ice cream down my pants is, wankers.
posted by bittennails at 6:24 AM on March 28, 2002

I think the biggest reason is that the see how cool ice cream down my pants is crowd can't afford the hourly rate.
posted by crunchland at 6:29 AM on March 28, 2002

Aren't so many blogs boilerplate in content as well as appearance, everyone wanting to be the next Kottke or Dave Winer or Andrew Sullivan.

Yes, but with dozens of weblogs going online every day, there's bound to be a few of them that make you glad the form exists. Like this one.

I'm sad that weblogs ate this topic. I was hoping it would attract some more of the 1995 burnouts.
posted by rcade at 6:34 AM on March 28, 2002

I'm still cool, fresh, and exciting. That's because I deoderize my naughty bits.
posted by benbrown at 6:42 AM on March 28, 2002

I think it is a fact that fewer and fewer people are experimenting with the web like they used to. 0sil8 is dead. k10k - dead. Glassdog - still alive! Still wonderful! Yay Lance! Other sites that were once exciting bits of art on the web are now - blogs. All the teenyboppers who competed with each other to learn the niftiest HTML stuff - went to college, and the new teenyboppers all have blogs.

It's like, suddenly we had all these cool tools but by the time they came around (browser support for dHTML, PHP, easy databases like mySQL, PostgreSQL, browser support for XML) all the people who knew enough about them to be excited by the technology were already being put to work by various companies to utilise them for purposes other than making art. Which is fine, of course. But someone needs to be experimenting with this stuff somewhere, pushing envelopes and whatnot. I just want to find them.

Case in point - this is the year I finally decided that I no longer want to be a web designer. My job ends in two weeks - and then I get to finish up the web projects that I've been trying to complete for four years. I don't know if they're good, and I don't particularly care. All I know is that projects I conceived in early 1999 would have been done in early 1999 if I'd been a bookstore clerk or burger flipper, instead of a programmer/designer. I'm wondering if other people are facing the same difficulty, and that's why we have this shortage of thrilling websites. You get good at working the web because of experimenting with personal projects. Your personal projects get you jobs, get you a reputation. You get hired, start working 40 - 60 hour weeks slinging code and scraping pixels, and suddenly it stops being as fun as it was, especially when all the innovations you try and introduce in the workplace are scrapped or trampled on by ignorant marketing people and IS admins who've been working Unix with the same company for twenty years and still think the Web is a passing fad.

Jeez, I must be bitter.

At any rate, I challenge you all to play! Play with code! Play with pictures! Draw things - find something to say, and then try and present it unlike anyone else. Let the unique stamp of your personality show through in not only your words, but your style - your colour schemes, your layouts, your unnecessary dHTML tricks. Maybe instead of saying "I went to work today, came home, trashed the living room playing naked Twister with my neighbor and fell asleep drunk" you could show it, with a Twister-sheet background, and a cryptic statement like "Naked twister wears you out. I slept twelve hours last night".

I didn't say it would be pretty - just more interesting. Lends a sense of mystery to who you are.

Or, I could just be talking out my ass. But to the mefi member (quonsar?) who tried to drag the conversation to the poor starving children in Africa - there are plenty of other threads where we can discuss that. In this particular one, we are discussing the web, and it is ridiculous for you to try and make us feel guilty for having internet access and taking interest in an online community.
posted by annathea at 6:44 AM on March 28, 2002

Two more things - Ben Brown is still cool, fresh and exciting, deodorant or not. And, the quickest way to lose a site you really love is for it to become so popular that the bandwidth charges exceed the owner's income. Happens all too frequently. The site will change so that it can make a little money, or the owner will be afraid to put up new content since it will only jackup bandwidth costs, etc. etc. The audience will rave and bitch, the owner will become jaded and *puff* - that's the sound of the web becoming less interesting.

The problems are myriad, but there are ways around all of them. I'd just like to see more people playing around with the web like they used to.
posted by annathea at 6:50 AM on March 28, 2002

I think they are. We're just too busy pressing refresh here on Metafilter to go find it.

And I was lucky enough to meet Ben a couple weeks ago. He is minty fresh.
posted by crunchland at 6:54 AM on March 28, 2002

Crunchland - I doubt that. What better reason to go looking for neat stuff online than to post it here?
posted by annathea at 7:15 AM on March 28, 2002

there are those that provide, it's true.

but there are many more who just consume.
posted by crunchland at 7:34 AM on March 28, 2002

The net is as good as ever. I am glad a lot of what is gone is gone. There is always something interesting, every day.

The policing of this site aside, metafilter has enriched my life, daily, for years. I even love the po-lice!

posted by zenhues at 7:38 AM on March 28, 2002

These days, between MetaFilter, Fark, Yahoo's What's New, several other blogs/journals and (more rarely) my own serendipitous surfing, I still find plenty of "oh wow!" sites out there. Given, I'm an optimist, but really.

I'd love to write something long about how it's natural, even helpful for people to grow numb to the familiar, but won't.

One thing I will suggest, and I mean this in the best possible way: If there aren't enough interesting things out there on the Web, get busy and make some. I've been putting together personal web projects (large and small, good and hideous) since 1995. I've got over 20 out there so far, and still have more to come. I do it because I love it... for no other sane reason I can fathom. It's work, you open yourself up to criticism (or the pain of being slashdotted), and there's not much payoff, but I really wish there were more of us around.
posted by kokogiak at 8:25 AM on March 28, 2002

the glam associated with the renaming of the nabe.

a replacement for the old nabe.

posted by kindall at 9:14 AM on March 28, 2002

posted by lampshade at 9:42 AM on March 28, 2002

[Annathea, please drop by more often. Your personal site was my first web crush - such artistic sensibility and beauty just for beauty's sake. I was beyond happy to see you resurrect it a few months ago .]

One of the joys of MetaFilter is that we have hundreds of people ferreting out the latest and the best of all the web has to offer. We're experiencing things and seeing sites light years before anyone else, and I love that. I can't wait to get here every day and see what new things people have found for me (because, you know... you're all doing this just for me). I don't see how anyone could possibly be bored with the web, unless they just keep visiting the same sites every day.

It's the Lion King-endorsed Circle of Life, on the web as it is everywhere else. Many of the sites that were positively huge 3 years ago have either closed up shop, turned into weblogs, or faded away into obscurity or archives. I was a daily visitor to sites like High5, Eyecandy, ProjectCool - I'm sure you all have your personal favorites and memories (I'd love to hear about them, actually). But there's still so much out there yet to be discovered.

I'm reworking a site that I have and it's not going to work on all browsers, and it's just oozing with bandwidth-depleting unoptimized gifs and huge images and somewhat unconventional navigation. And it's the most fun I've ever had making anything - there were nights when I actually stayed up all night and forgot to go to bed, it was so much fun. I know I'm going to get hate mail from people with 56k modems, and I don't give a rat's ass. I have a 56k modem too. This is not a news site or a corporate site or any kind of informational site - it's my silly little personal site and I'm going to do what I want, and if it doesn't work on your browser, then I guess you can either switch browsers or don't - the world will keep spinning on its axis even if you don't get to download some background I made. My point (yay she's finally getting to it!) being: the web is never as exciting as when you yourself are creating something to contribute to it. That is such a rush.
posted by iconomy at 10:13 AM on March 28, 2002


And Hey.

Maura, and ben's naughty bits and anathea are right. Look, you have this terrible bland content, that only really gets interesting in a voyueristic way when the person has either;

a really fucked up life
a great sense of humor

Meanwhile, what maura was saying, and what I think is being lost or ignored or not comprehended is that the world wide web might as well not be a graphical interface and we could go back to the internet if people aren't going to *take advantage* of the fact that it's a graphical interface.

Sure, some interfaces aren't good and it's god-awful trying to find something. But then, the real joy is in finding someplace who's interface is so intuitive it doesn't even have a navigation scheme. How about an interface that drives the content and is paired perfectly with it like endquote?

But you don't need to be a master coder. The old Glassdog color-box navigation was beautiful. You had visual clues that weren't text-based to indicate an option.

And whatever happened to mouse-overs? Sure, it's a silly simple thing, but when done with style, they can brilliantly enhance a user experience.

think about senses - it would be boring if all you did was see. But now, throw in touch, sound, smell and taste.. flowers and fruit are such a better experience (and by comparison, shit id a much worse experience). Blogs tend to equate to stimulating a single sense.. throw in more visual, more personality, more variety and you've got it going on.
posted by rich at 10:53 AM on March 28, 2002

Are we having the "the web is dead" conversation again? Hmn. Yeah. Must be spring....

The web is dead! Long live the web!

Seriously, I think Lisa Guernsey probably just needs some suggestions. Come help.

I bet in a month she'll write a long story about this great new thing called "Web Logging."
posted by fraying at 3:45 PM on March 28, 2002

I think that Arts&Letters Daily(sorry, no permalinks) has a nice summation of this idea:

"Remember when the Web was fun? Mr. Potato Head, Coffee Cam, really cool games? The Web’s lost it. Nobody goes there anymore... >sob<"
posted by Su at 7:33 AM on March 29, 2002

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