Creative Code Köln Meetup 7
This time the guest was Jochen, who used to be a professional cyclist and currently organizing events related to cycling and sports, including a sport event called Cologne Classic from May 30 to June 1. He has been interviewed by RTLZWEI a few times.
Although he has a presence online, he is struggling to direct his fans to a place which he can reach, i.e., his own website. He recollects the early Internet, such as web99.de, which is similar to Yahoo! GeoCities, where users can create their own website with widgets. You can find a demo page of web99.de on archive.org - which comes with a photo archive, a guestbook, weather information, a Google search box, and a chat room. Unfortunately, web99.de is no longer available (I could not find any information about how and when it shut down, but the website has not been updated since 2007 on archive.org, and in 2018 the top page became unavailable) and similarly, GeoCities US and Japan were shutdown in 2009 and 2019, respectively. As geocities.yahoo.com currently redirects to Yahoo! Small Business, build-your-own-website platforms are now targeting business and not personal websites. Jochen tried a few business solutions such as Webnode, CM4all, Homepage-Baukasten and Wordpress:
However, none of them has a good balance of usability and customizability. Tools such as Webnode and Weebly are “intuitive” but the users are guided to create a certain type of website; on the other hand, Wordpress is very flexible but requires coding skills to fully customize the website. Furthermore, a common problem to these platforms is that once a user started building a website with a specific platform, it is difficult to transfer contents to another platform.
Another solution for Jochen might be a use of social media. However, only those who have an account on the platform can access or comment on the posts, and there are restrictions depending on the platform; only certain types of media (text, photos, videos, audios) can be uploaded, and if their policy is violated, the content can be censored (and this has been controversial in EU, known as Article 13). I do not simply conclude that revival of old GeoCities or web99.de solves this problem; however, I encourage web developers and creative coders to build their own platforms to experiment and to question what the future of the Internet could be. For example, Glitch is a web service where users can code server-side applications for free. I created a few experimental projects such as the virtual exhibition, where viewers can anonymously share their photos as artworks in the online gallery.
The next meetup will be held on March 5th at Akkuraum. I hope to see you there!