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I didn't have the internet when I was a kid. Technically, we could afford it, but there just was no need to have access to it. Between 2007 and 2012 or so, when I was still in elementary school, I would do my research assignments through pre-installed encyclopedias on that big brick of a computer that is still in my room right now, all dusty but still perfectly functional. It never had internet access, I had no dial-up, no modem/router/whatever, just me, Encarta, MS Paint and minesweeper. And also a few videogames that came free with Ferrero snacks, I'm sure some of my compatriots can relate to me on this one.

Without the internet, I had an okay childhood. I spent my days drawing and playing outside or with my DS, I didn't have many friends and I was pretty much alienated, but I remember feeling very... human. A feeling that I miss a lot.
Now I'm in my early twenties, and I know that the internet has brought me lots of joy, but also lots of pain. My ideal self would pull a forest anon and live in the woods forever, but I'm stuck here, technology-ridden, with an internet addiction in a web-dependent bureaucracy and society. I don't need to digress with the usual "social media evil and soulless and corporate and capitalism and lack of creativity etc etc", I'm sure 99% of you already talked about this already in your own manifesto. I share the sentiment, but it would be redundant.

Is that why I decided to open a personal website? To regain that sense of humanity I used to feel when I was an innocent child and integrating it with my current interests, thoughts and ideals?
I actually opened this site to put into practice the little things I learned about HTML/CSS in high school. This was an art portfolio! And it was very ugly.
I don't remember how I stumbled upon Neocities, I just knew it was worth a try. After realizing the portfolio was a big, eye-straining flop, I abandoned the project for a while, just to pick it up a year later and actually starting to do something of substance with it (read: let the audience read my complaints and judge my lackluster coding skills). I still kept the eyestrain, for I am the CEO or retinal burns.

Needless to say, I would be lying if I told you I made this site because of nostalgia. I feel like many users on here (especially the younger ones) use that poor excuse to hide the fact that they're here to have a cool little corner on the web. And that's fine, absolutely nothing wrong with it, but sometimes, I wish they were a little more honest. In my opinion, not everything needs to have the same justification. Everyone is allowed to create their own space indipendently from the core ideas.

I don't want to "make the internet what once was again", I don't want to partecipate in this whole pseudo-nostalgia movement, because that's not what I experienced, that's not how I feel. As much as I dislike the current internet culture, I find it useless to attempt to psyop it back to 1999 (as we've seen with the downfall of a particularly notorious - now defunct - webring). The current Online Zeitgeist is irremovable, stop trying to forcibly revert it, it's not gonna happen.

I long to have a space where I am in total control of what I want to offer and how.
I want to be as authentic and genuine as I possibly can.
I want to feel less pressure.
I don't want to be tied to numbers, that's also why I spend more time in the editor and less on Neocities' social media side.
I also don't want to witness the same, pointless dynamics I saw on other popular social media. I don't need to read poignant exchanges between tumblr-brained teenagers and millennial manchildren about stuff nobody except boring people care about. Nobody needs to see your Neocities equivalent of twitlonger apologies and virtue signaling about mundane interests, other users that don't agree with you, and so on and so forth.

I'm very happy to have met and talked to many people on here, and even if our bond is not as strong as a "true" friendship, I will always be glad to see and read what everyone has been up to.
However, this site is not me.
I am not my site, it's an artificial image I created to communicate with the world. If this warped mirror of my psyche intrigues you, you are free to e-mail me and we can talk about anything.

That being said, enjoy this agglomerate of amateur code. I poured a lot of love into it.
[May 9, 2023]

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