Midnight Pub

Early Internet


~bartender I’ll have a plaintext coffee please, with a bit of sugar to inspire some accuracy of thought.

I mourn the escapism of early internet. True and fun eureka moments in a environment which had no motives to provide information, except enthusiasm for sharing. A community waiting to be found, an outlet for conversation more specific than could have ever been had in near geography. A place where we could all grow together.

I saw your sign on the street and decided to pop in as it peaked my nostalgia for the simpler connection with the online world of the early 2000’s. I’m glad this place is open. I know it’s late and that you’ve listened to me talk, do you feel the same way? I’d love to hear your memories of early internet days.


~bartender A carajillo on the rocks, please!

Well, I guess we enjoy that feeling of the Internet/Web from 2000s due to the good memories and moments. Sadly, we are different people, and the internet is different too. These spaces have been fresh air to me. The smol net, the slow net, the hobbyist net, have been for me a different way to enjoy technology in general, besides working on Web 2.0-3.0ish, AR, VR, and multiple stuff bringing money to my family.

And it's weird since I've been reading books from 1800s, 1920, 1980, and even if wasn't alive at that time the feeling is like if I was that teenager living in those years. Aaaand, I can do that thanks to a transmission system, digital storage, and an eink reader.

Today, telecommunications in general, TCP/IP, 5G, microSD, GPS, to say something, are magical stuff that most people don't understand, and take for granted. For us, it's the top of the human inventive, greediness, ambitions, and talent.


The first time I watched the Web in action was, perhaps 1993 or 1994, and a colleague of my grandpa showed me a page about Michael Jordan.

Then dial-up came to my city, so you could actually play with it for about 20 dollars a month, not that much.

I had great memories of the following page (in spanish):


And today that I checked again, looks much like in the 2000s, great!



There was a sense of wonder to the early Internet/Web.

I still feel it sometimes. The idea that if you just simply type the correct characters into the address bar, you'll discover the coolest thing ever, something that will make your life complete.

Today's internet is all about marketing, advertisement and surveillance.



I view this sense of wonder as part of a techno-glamor where people unquestioningly invested their life energy into automating and digitizing everything. This glamor is reflected in optimistic slogans like "Information wants to be free" and "The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." This optimism is less credible now that the "powers that be" take "cyberspace" more seriously.

Your idea that if you just simply type the correct characters into the address bar, you'll discover the coolest thing ever is one of the historic visions for the Internet:

"Berners-Lee named his first hypertext system Enquire, after an old book, he found as a child in his parent's house called Enquire Within upon Everything which provided a range of household tips and advice. The book fascinated young Tim with the suggestion that it magically contained the answer to any problem in the world. With the building of the Enquire system in 1980, and then the Web ten years later, Berners-Lee has pretty much successfully dedicated his life to making that childhood book real."

I see this vision implemented in sites like Archive.org and Wikipedia.org.



Well, those slogans are no longer true. Initially, effort was put into making things more free, and this resulted in the massive flowering of the internet we saw in the 2000s, however, by the early 2010s, corporate interests saw the "benefits" of locking things down more and more. Of course, the culture of the internet meant this had to be done gradually (boiled frogs and all that) but this effort, through the 2010s, gave us the brightly-lit Walmart that is the internet today. Internet culture has also been replaced (conveniently, for the powers that be) with more unbelievably stupid culture-war nonsense.

>I see this vision implemented in sites like archive.org and Wikipedia

The Internet Archive is closer to this than Wikipedia. Wikipedia used to be great, but it's been used more and more to push the corporate-backed Facebook-approved version of reality over the years.



Search engines weren't that good at first so you had to rely on web directories and organic links. Then Google became the best it was ever going to be and has backslided since, because there's no reason to get better. I curate my own list of websites. Pinterest is a godsend that fills in the gaps of discovery left by the Wayback Machine.



You mourn your youth. There, I said it.



~contrarian, I'm at an age where mourning my youth is perfectly appropriate.

The old internet was deep but narrow — it was exclusive, and didn't have something for everyone, just those that weren't being served by the mass culture of the time. The new internet is broad but shallow (besides the technical wrong pathways it's gone down). If there's a broad and deep internet to be found, it's in the deep web — unindexed chatrooms and weird interlinked bandcamp accounts. Sad maybe that it's all on "platforms", but good that it's there somewhere, something for anyone, but not for everyone.



Username is appropriate.

Funny thing is, I know at least a few zoomers who, when given a taste of what the early internet was like, prefer it.



A taste of the early internet is like emulating a retro game without ever having played it originally. The early internet was full of potential - it's like preferring your childhood over adulthood.



¯\_(ツ)_/¯ firm but fair