A long time ago there was a time and place where you could go to be yourself- but not yourself, more like the real self you wanted to be. You could be anybody you wanted to be.
There were no cookies or googling- just good ol' fashioned chatrooms and message boards. No Facebooks, Myspaces or Twitters. You had to download a video if you wanted to watch it. If your sister wanted to make a phone call you'd be kicked off of the internet and have to wait.
Some people look back at that by-gone era of the interweb with disgust, but this cowboy remembers the freedom of the Wild Wild West that was the World Wide Web.
What happened to the Old Web? Why don't we see personal homepages anymore? And when we do see websites why do they all look the same? Why don't we have autoplaying music and ugly gif images?
Would you believe me if I said that the Cowboys grew tired of their freedom? It's not a tale you'd hear in just any saloon pardn'r. You see, there was a snake oil salesman named Mark Elliot Zuckerberg that had seen that us Cowboys had become complacent.
He sold us a rinsed, clean, sterile white slate to put ourselves on. We'd use our god-given names and we'd write on each other's walls... for some reason. We'd poke each other and post images of ourselves and we'd like it. Best of all, there were no more custom style sheets, no annoying cowboy hat cursors and gif images.
Other dastardly fellas saw what Mark had done and followed in his footsteps. We had the invention of the endless scroll with Twitter, the integration of ads with personal posts, the beginnings of the almighty alg'rhythm... algarit... oh you know what I mean. The point is they continued to take us to the cleaners and foot us with the bill folks. They gave us their social media platforms for seemingly nothing. All that we had to give them was our name, our location, and our age. Something we used to only give eachother... A/S/L?
Before we knew it we had all been domesticated. Filled to the brim with delicious 'or dourves and content. It was served to our shrinking attention spans and we didn't miss our greener pastures. Even more insidious than that- we started to make our own content. Suddenly we all become creators. We started making YouTube channels to show even more of ourselves- our faces and our voices- our families and our schools.
Oh but it didn't stop there. We gave them our deepest desires and thoughts. They gave us an endless directory- poised as a search engine. We typed in our questions, our fears and our opinions and they took it and answered our prayers with 'individualized content'. The Devil came in wearing cargo shorts and a white v-neck t shirt. We gladly accepted his Faustian deal for unlimited and endless content- a reinforcing loop.
We might have been duped by those oily Californian types- but it doesn't have to be like this. We can fight back against the centralized web. We can create our homesteads out on the open web again. If there's anything us Cowboys have it's spirit and even a broken spirit can be mended. We can created a federated group of like-minded people- all sorts of artsy fartsy types to create the personalized web again. We don't have to go back to chatrooms and message boards and dial-up modems, but we can go back to the best things about the Old Web and it's easier than you think!
Ready to head out West and settle up your own homestead out in the World Wide Wilderness? While you probably won't die of dysentery, it will have its fair share of hardships. You'll have to learn how to write like a cyberSpaceCowboy- you'll get your very own Hypertext Markup Language and your own Cascading Style Sheets. If you're really bold you can learn how to use scripts. But the best part is that if you want something that doesn't exist on the commercial web you can just make it yourself! What's more- is you don't have to do it alone. Join us on the Yesterweb and begin staking your claim today Pardn'r.