Sometimes I feel like the internet has given me kind of a skewed sense of time. There’s always so much NEW stuff that it seems like things get OLD a lot faster. In 2011 the internet was a completely different place than it is today. That’s only barely almost 5 years ago. 5 years is not a very long time. What’s the difference between a 20-year-old and a 25-year-old? Not terribly much.
But I don’t know if I ever could have imagined when I started using the internet unsupervised at the way-too-young age of 9 in 2002 (I think) that the internet would someday have TOO much stuff on it. I used to delight in visiting EVERY SINGLE PAGE of websites I would find. I’d find the site map and click every link and read every little bit of text on every page. I was proud that I had seen literally every page of homestarrunner.com and trsrockin.com. Even the hidden ones! Even that one that never loaded right! When YouTube came along in 2005, I would watch every single one of a person’s videos before I subscribed to their channel.
Now there are sites so big that it’s actually impossible to see every single page of. Now there are so many new sites and pages and articles and videos every day about so many topics that it’s not a matter of something not being covered, it’s a matter of so many people covering it that information gets buried and lost at sea. Its a matter of what’s relevant changing so quickly that I don’t understand how anyone can keep up with it anymore. It’s not like back then when things were hard to find because no one had covered it yet. It’s the opposite. It kinda feels like too much sometimes, at least from the perspective of someone still MAKING stuff to get lost in that sea. And also from the perspective of someone trying to navigate it. If I wanna look up basic things about nutrition or how to clean stove burners the first results are always click bait or freelance articles from people who might not actually know what they’re talking about but are writing about it anyway cause it was what was in their till this morning and they need to make a living. It feels like Google is more interested in showing me things I didn’t KNOW I was looking for than helping me find what I AM looking for.
Today someone tweeted me telling me my old ROM Hacking FAQ page was frozen. Indeed, it seems to have been taken down for one reason or another. I wrote that when I was 13 or so because I was so frustrated with people asking me how to hack. I felt like people were SO lazy then. They didn’t feel like looking for the information themselves, so they wanted me to spoon feed it to them. So I created the FAQ just to have something easy to point them towards to get them to leave me alone about it. It wasn’t to get views or out of any real desire to teach people, it was out of necessity. I worked hard on that thing. I prided myself in it. At the time, it was the most straightforward beginners guide to getting into ROM Hacking. Maybe it still woulda been.
But it seems kinda pointless to really look into restoring it now. Even though ROM hacking is still a fulfilling endeavor, even though its still a fun creative way to enjoy a great game, it feels irrelevant. Does anyone really care anymore? There are so many other newer Pokemon games. It feels like theres this window between nostalgia and in vogue where things just might as well not exist. And I feel like this window is just getting bigger and bigger with how short a time things stay relevant now. It’s stressful in a way. I can’t keep up. I’m either way ahead of the curve or too far behind it.
But if all this hadn’t changed so much, my life today wouldn’t be possible either. It’s scary to think that someday I’ll be irrelevant too. What will I do then? I wouldn’t have a place in the world if I hadn’t been on the internet when YouTube was young and at just the right time to start carving out my life in it. But maybe by the time that happens, all this change will have brought about something new I could never imagine now too. It might be dumb to have faith in something that is essentially made up of people and people aren’t known for making sure there’s room for everyone, y’know? But I feel like no matter what, I’ll be alright. I can find room for myself to exist happily even if slowly my old footholds get washed away. I can find new ones.
So welcome to the new internet my friends. It’s a different place than it was when I found it. It’s overwhelming and scary and awesome and wonderful. Try to take good care of it.