thoughts on neocities (also social media, web design, self expression)

posted 11/21/2020

first journal entry :') i finally decided to make this page because i was really inspired by some neocities sites with similar, hybrid journal-like opinion-column-esque writing, which 1) are really insightful and fun to read, 2) reminded me that i used to write more around four years ago (holy shit it's been so long), and (though somewhat obvious since im moving away from insta for similar reasons) 3) feels SO LIBERATING to thought-dump without wondering who the hell will Clap for my shitty articles on Medium. in short, this page is inspired by the candor that i really appreciated on other neocities sites, though i'm not yet sure how i will balance having this page AND a physical diary AND a physical sketchbook AND a digital diary AND way too many social media accounts (h el p m e).

speaking of social media, i want to explain in more detail why i wanted to make a neocities website, as well as postulate why i'm having so much more FUN than on social media (to be precise, it's mostly just Inst*gram lol)... i think for a long time, i was aware of just how unhealthy Inst*gram was for me, but it took longer for me to realize why and actually do anything about it. what set off the chain reaction of realization in my head was this insta post (ironic, yes, i know, but i'll also address this in a moment) – it was a slap-in-the-face reminder that Inst*gram is very ostensibly for-profit, and very much not for artists' and creators' profit. (this was coincidentally a month before Inst*gram made the profit-driven decision to replace the notifications button with a shopping button, but that just drove the point home even more.) i had been posting allll of my best photos and paintings on insta, and only on insta, which meant my work LIVED on insta, making it harder than it already is to extricate the number of likes from my personal satisfaction with my work. another moment of rage-turned-clarity was when i eagerly posted a drawtober illustration i really liked earlier than usual at 3am, and that post did historically awful, getting not even 10 likes, versus my usual 30 and occasional 50. there seemed like no point in marketing myself there if my audience is constantly axed by the algorithm even when i was posting daily.

unfortunately, the only thing keeping me from leaving the platform completely is all my irl friends and random mutuals i've met through events (pre-covid...) and insta and faceb**k groups (again, here we see how these platforms have helped me find community but keeps axing them in favor of their profit). i still need a platform to market myself to people i know, and there's not yet a solid replacement for insta in this aspect. twitter is an option, but i've weighed the pros and cons and the tl;dr is it feels healthier and more engaging than insta, but just isn't as widely adopted, which means a smaller audience by default. so it looks like i won't be deactivating quite yet, but already i feel my mindset and relationship to insta shifting for the better.

and by shifting for the better i mostly mean shifting my attention to neocities, which has been so much more fulfilling and less stress-inducing. right now i have a tiny network of fewer than 20 mutuals, but it all feels genuine and positive, with less pressure to pump out algorithm-friendly content and more creative freedom. and where many of my insta mutuals are those kind of compulsory ones accumulated randomly throughout college, neocities is by nature full of creative people with interests overlapping mine. no shade to those insta mutuals, who have expanded my network and helped me find cool online connections, but i keep being pleasantly surprised to find strangers with common interests and mindsets on neocities. i don't think i know a single person irl who spends their free time coding websites for fun LOL (i was gonna say i don't know anyone who codes for fun, but i do know people who contribute to open source for fun but that seems different enough that i Cannot Relate) i thought it was a quintessential millenial activity but i guess not...

now for outlining some of my goals for this website. as an infp i am usually so repulsed by the idea of setting goals and prefer to go by Vibes instead, but i do like to set my intentions so that i don't stray too far and stress out over non-issues. i started this website as a sort of digital sketchbook, to try out and share my explorations of whatever new visual style or javascript library or other cool idea i come across. in high school i wanted to be a web designer when i "grew up" and although i'm a little deterred now by knowing how difficult it is, i still carry that aspiration in the back of my mind. from where i'm standing now, i think someday i'd like to help other creatives build custom websites that best display their work in their medium for the online realm. well, that was a brief tangent of me daydreaming out loud, but to be clear my website is by no means a portfolio or a workbook on becoming a web designer. i'm just messing around throwing things (code) at the wall and seeing what looks cool, and maybe others can also find it cool and say hi. to be honest this sounds kind of hippie and abstract, because in reality i do some of this stuff in my day job and i can't help but want to make a well-designed, responsive, and accessible website! i guess these requirements don't have to stunt creativity, but are part of the challenge. maybe on days where i don't feel as inspired or creative i can do some accessibility testing.

these "goals" or intentions explain why the pages on my website don't match at all, besides the fonts and the nav. i'm tired of sticking to rules and expectations of perfection, usually imposed by myself but magnified on insta – for example, for the last 4? 5? years i have kept a tidy row-of-3 layout on my insta, and it is so hard to break out of because every new post ruins my layout... these kinds of rules followed to this extent haven't been conducive to my creativity, so here's to a new url new me :) if you've read this far thanks for following my shitty writing littered with cynical LOLs and thank you for witnessing my journey! <3

lorem ipsum #1

just testing the nav works :D

lorem ipsum #2

neocities is p cool iguess