It was August of last year when I came across sdf.org, maybe through a HN post about text only websites. I don't remember the details but I was so happy I did!
Having some strong nostalgia for win 98, and linux 2.2, gnome 2 and kde 2/3, computer nowadays and the internet where no longer those mysterious boxes that I once had so much joy exploring.
But it was more than the computer now being "just work", even when browsing the internet it all felt to corporate, to sales-y, too impersonal... I missed the days chatting with strangers on ICQ, finding cool and weird sites on geosites, reading about gentoo on netscape.
I missed cool people doing cool stuff and telling everybody about it on the internet! Emphasis on people, not SEO, not marketers, not institutions, real authentic, plain ordinary people!
And then, throught sdf.org I came across gopher and eventually genimi. It was so weird at the beginning, people can't comment on the post? Where do I look for traffic and analytics? How could I share this stuff with friends or family that call a terminal "the black screen of death"!? (I'm not making this up, that is what my wife said when I showed her my super cool urxvt/zsh config)
But I spent more and more time in the small internet I came to appreciate it more and more! Not having traffic/analytics simply meant that I could let go for my need to be seen and just enjoy writing for the sake of it! (I went on a tangent here about failure/success but decided to post it as a separate post later :-) No comments and using emails meant that conversations where happening, people talking to each other, as opposed to "sages throwing wisdom at others" like is often found in comment sections.
I've been basking in the freedom of the small internet, to the point that, when I'm having a bad day or I'm feeling anxious or I ran out of articles to read in HN, the small web is such a lovely place to hand out, read about other humans figuring out how to exists... and I don't feel so alone anymore!
I love you small internet!
Written with Smol Pub
Send me a message at benj AT sdf.org :-)