GeoCities: 1994-2009, Goodnight Sweet Prince
As if there wasn’t enough tragedy in the world today, an internet legend died recently. Yahoo, owner of GeoCities pulled the plug on the site on October 27th. Back in 1994, GeoCities actually started as a small internet start-up called BHI (Beverly Hills Internet). The original concept of the site was that there were different neighborhoods within GeoCities. Each neighborhood served as a category to organize the types of sites that were contained in those neighborhoods. For example, “Hollywood” was for entertainment sites, “SiliconValley” was for computer related sites, etc. The users who had homepages in those neighborhoods were called “homesteaders.” Eventually they added new neighborhoods including, “Colosseum,” “Hollywood,” “RodeoDrive,” “SunsetStrip,” “WallStreet,” and “WestHollywood”.
I’m sure you all have had at least some exposure to GeoCities. The style of a GeoCities home page was unmistakable. There were a few key things that were defining characteristics of GeoCities. One of the key things pretty much every GeoCities home page would have is an animate .gif image. These were often times “Under Construction” signs. I mean, what better way to inform your visitors that you were not finished with your home page than a moving “Under Construction” image. Horrible color schemes, “webrings”, animated backgrounds, “Hit Counters”, “Guestbooks” and scrolling text were also common features on a GeoCities home page.
Without GeoCities websites like myspace might not exist. GeoCities is one of a few sites that brought the idea of having a personal homepage to the general public. They offered tools to allow users to build their websites with relative ease. Users did not have to have an in-depth understanding of HTML or any programming experience to build a home page. The idea of making the internet so accessible to everyone spread and now we have sites just like this one with easy to use interfaces, allowing everyone to build a site and contribute.
Don’t forget to take your quiz, but before you do, check out my special tribute to GeoCities below:
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