Before there were blogs we had websites. Beautiful, random websites that felt more like a zine — one page looking nothing like the one before or after it — or Wired magazine back in the early days when Jane Metcalf was art directing. Clicking through a website hosted on Geocities was like playing Russian roulette with your eyes but today those horrid pages with disco backgrounds, flaming horizontal rules, and BLINK tags would look more like art today than poorly designed website because we’re so used to seeing boxy newsletters (this site included). Content was in free-form, one page might contain a paragraph set in headline tags and the next would be five pages set in nine-point type. Sure it was sometimes frustrating but it certainly wasn’t boring. Today’s content-tied-to-ads web is very bland in comparison and we desperately need to rediscover the ways of our old, accidental bohemian community.
When content is forced through a entry-commment-trackback-pagerank strainer it all comes out looking the same no matter how the templates are designed. Sure this format is functional but it’s more like a Maersk shipping container than a Volvo s50. This is fine for commercial purposes, the blog is certainly the must-have online marketing device, but I miss those days when content wasn’t confined to categories, calendars, and links to vote a piece of content into a popularity contest.