I miss the old internet

Plug in the cable, get the weird interference noise and start browsing. The world was ours back then.

I miss the old internet
Source: unDraw, colored by me.

It finally happened today: I got bored of the internet.

Let's be honest, what's there to do? Other than mind-numbly scrolling the feed of "social" apps, I mean. And what's social about that? The most "social" I get is when I share a fucking thousand short videos with my friends and to be honest I don't think they see all of them, 'cause sometimes I don't do it with theirs, either.

And after searching which square or circle –squircles, even– to press next on the screen of your phone, you go back to the one you opened a few seconds ago in hopes there's something new now. Rinse an repeat.

Back then we had an open sea

If you're old enough, you'll remember the transition from the world without the internet to the world with it. Looking back, it was a fascinating thing. Google didn't exist back then, so landing on websites was one of two things:

  1. Pure chance you landed there.
  2. You already knew the address and were coming back.

Do you remember MySpace at the beginning and how it was so cool to be looking for music by checking the followers or comments of the band you liked? Kinda like that, but with websites. If you liked a website, you'd memorize it and visit it often. They would link websites they liked or have them as permalinks on a sidebar for you to see what they recommended or inspired them so you could check them out. It was truly a community and we truly navigated the internet back then, avoiding stuff you didn't like and anchoring where you wanted to stay.

I'll never forget the first time we landed on a porn site. I was young and really into skateboarding. So, what's the natural thing to do? Look for skateboarding websites. With my dad besides me, I typed "patinetas.com" –which is Spanish for "skateboards.com"– and there it was, a porn site. Who would have thought? I still remember that fucking pop up with a lady in silver boots and nothing but silver boots... And how my dad closed the window with such a speed that it would put most eSport pros to shame nowadays. That memory, only milliseconds long, is so hard coded in my brain that I can relive it on demand. Not for the lady, you morons, but because the experience was so funny.

You just typed something in the address bar, added ".com" and hoped for the best to find something good. Sometimes you did, sometimes you didn't. And that was so fucking awesome.

Everything is a private beach now

Continuing with the sea comparison, apps nowadays work like private beaches. You can get in, sure, but only if you have the right kind of access. That's to say, you need the app to get into this part of the sea. Don't have it? What a shame, please go somewhere else and don't even dare trying to look from the outside . That's, of course, not even mentioning the privacy shit show we all live in right now. That's for another time.

But have you noticed how it is starting to feel more and more isolating? You jump from app to app, hoping to get entertained or to look for something, but instead of having this really huge means of information and entertainment called the internet, you only get segregated parts of it. When was the last time you got into an interesting website? Not an app, an actual website... Yeah, they still exist. But... Do you want to dumb scroll forever? There's multiple apps for that. Twitter –I think I'll always refuse to call it X– or Threads for text, Instagram for pictures, Tumblr for your fandoms, Pinterest for idea boards... You have all of these compartments, in which you are you but never the whole you. And, in my opinion, we're no longer amazed, so we keep looking for the next thing.

Yes, this all comes from the fact that our main way to enter –or contact, maybe– the internet is through our phones. Smaller screens that were intended when the world wide web started. And us... We also have smaller spans of attention. We want the information instantly. We cannot wait, we cannot dig through it anymore. That's why there's lots of misinformation, too. It's easier than ever to create something false and for it to spread, because people don't want to scrutinize the information they receive. Further discussion of this is, too, for another time.

A little bit deeper

For me, the question is, what's your identity on the internet? And what's the internet for you?

The internet for me would be very hard to describe. It's not the utilitarian thing most people consider nowadays. I lived through the transition of not having it to have the internet just there all the time, to be always connected, to be able to find anything I wanted and to be communicating all the time. I can say for sure that I don't take the internet for granted. Back then it was pretty hard to have a computer, much more difficult was to have a connection always available, so I value it much more than kids do. I honestly think I could live without it, but I don't want to.

To me, the internet is this place where I used to be anything I wanted.

Now, my identity is another thing completely. I'm everywhere. I have username and social presence on every. single. app. Do I use them? No, I don't. Because I don't feel complete on any of them, like I'm a different character on each app only showing what you should see from me there and not what I would like you to see. We all know it, there are rules for social media. What to post here. How to be here. What to like and dislike here. You can be different –you should be different– if you want to stand out from the crowd, but you don't want to be so different that you're not part of the crowd because then this popular saying applies: the nail that sticks out gets hammered. So it's a balancing game. One I'm not used to play.

So I keep Acento en la O close to my heart. I've done this blog thing multiple times, with multiple iterations of it in multiple places and multiple focuses. At the end of the day, this is where I am. This is where I try to be, I should say. I'm still limited by the platform and the tools it's built on and my knowledge on how to make the most out of it, but this is the place I feel mine. I'm still ashamed of coming out completely, showing my face as it is and displaying my ideas as clearly and raw as possible, but that, at least, is something I get to decide on my own terms.

Have you seen "Midnight in Paris"? I somehow feel similar to the main character in the movie, where nostalgia takes the best of me when I start reminiscing of the old internet and how it worked. "It was better", I like to say to myself. I think of this website as the last harbor I have of the old ocean, so there's always a version of this, my website, close to me.

I'll be honest and say that I'm not entirely sure the internet was better, because I was twelve and there's an incredible difference between what I considered cool then and now; and there's also a lot of things I surely didn't experience being a minor with supervised access to the internet, but I have this strange feeling it was and that we're trying to get back to those days.

Maybe the best is to look back, learn what worked and what didn't, and start anew, with all the knowledge we got from this run, and make the internet a better place.