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internet manifesto: please, be ugly

Im young. I was born in 2002 and at the time of writing this I'm 20 years old, but I've been on the internet dwelling around since 2008 or so. I remember asking my mom for youtube videos on her old giant computer with windows xp and how the startup sound made me laugh. I remember playing in ms paint for hours, then around early 2010s I had my real introduction to the social internet with roblox and club penguin, I had a facebook, and... things were simpler back then. Im not saying it was better, because it was and it wasn't. It was safer and more dangerous. you just needed a fake identity which couldnt be traced back to yourself, which was also easier to do back then because websites back then didn't ask for your phone number or nothing more personal than an email. still, that's not the point of my manifesto, but a good intro.
facebook was the official death of personality on the web. we went from fully customizable personal sites to... a profile picture and a header. maybe a bio to say a thing or two about yourself, and why? I mean, tumblr was the last bit of that internet full of personality we had, but it was never THAT popular for the mainstream and now the whole ordeal about getting a blog theme is dying, and I fucking hate that. the now mega capitalist web has killed self expression almost on its entirety, replacing it with white or black minimalist standard profile templates, all the same. while I do thank the fact that the internet is now more accessible maybe exactly because of that, why cant we have a good mix of full user customization to go wild with, while being accessible? it's possible! and it would be even cooler if the option wasn't behind a paywall.
why did we replace colorful, interesting websites to a white page with cool transitions? thats on the list on the most stupid decisions ever made. I want to go on someones profile and know their favorite song, their favorite color, pattern, font of choice, favorite characters. I want rainbows and comic sans, I want glitter and silly cursors. I want all of the things we called ugly just because they didnt fit a certain professional web standard. like, yeah, please. I want pictures of all of your cats with their names written in a neon green comic sans style while I listen to bring me to life by evanescence, the favorite song on your blog.
all of what I mentioned could be brought back in a more accessible way for everyone to enjoy expressing themselves in truly unique, extravagant and crazy digital ways, but it won't. the web now prioritizes advertisement, the idea of becoming popular, and with that also comes the problem of cyberbullying, cringe culture, and aesthetic standards. you cannot just express yourself freely with the death of internet anonimity because you will be judged by others. theres a solution to that which is not giving a fuck, but as someone who has suffered bullying throughout all of their childhood and teens I know that's not a permanent solution.
I can't offer a solution to this customization issue, because I know it, it's making the web communist and personal again. prioritize users, fun and the experience, not advertisements and money. problem is that you cannot just kill a parasite when it has spread just like that. we can use temporal cures, though. and what are they? here's a list.
-teach your friends to surf the web, interest them in sites like neocities and html. show them it's not that scary.
-speak about it. about the slow but sure loss of self expression on the web, the harm of modern social media sites. make it a healthy discussion.
-write your own manifesto.
-create your own website and join a webring.
-and last but not least, please be ugly. don't be afraid to make your website ''ugly''. just make it yours.

while I've given examples with extravagant sites due to them being the easiest example to make, my manifesto isn't just for them. if your aesthetic is minimalist, go for it. maybe you just need two or three buttons and a paragraph to express yourself. what if your aesthetic is that of the modern website silicon valley look? go for it. give me the craziest transitions with that beautiful white background I just dissed. I will love it. I am striving for a web where people can create spaces to express themselves digitally in any way they want to. so, as I said many times, please, be ugly. and create ugly things, create pretty things, just take back the web.

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