20 Years

In 1996 I attend a day long training course to learn how to use a new technical language to publish text on the internet. I was working for a small firm in Helensburgh at the time, the internet was still new, we’d only just upgraded to Windows 95, and I was put in charge of creating their website.

That technical language was called HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and still powers the bulk of the internet today. The default browser of the day was Netscape Navigator, and webpages looked very basic consisting of little more than black text on a grey background with some oddly placed images. In the last hour of the training course we were taken through some new developments in HTML which added the ability to make the background a different colour and then how to create clickable imagemaps. Exciting times!

Eager to experiment with this new knowledge I created my own little website, all hand coded in HTML. It was only a few hyperlinked pages kept locally to begin with, and mostly just lists of my favourite websites. As it turns out that is pretty much what many other people were doing at the time,but only a handful were publishing these on the internet for others to see but I was soon to join them quite simply because I could (ahhh memories of angelfire).

I had no grand plan, no burning desire to do much with this knowledge, it was (and still is) a curiosity and a level playing field. I had a website, just like the BBC had a website, just like Microsoft had a website. Were they my peers now? Of course not, my own little website was little more than a handful of pages of not much else of note.

Zip forward to 1997; I’ve built the company website (Crossaig) and I’ve started using the internet more and more, mostly exploring various strands of the Yahoo Directory or following webrings to discover new websites. Some of these had started offering more content, unique content, content written by the person behind the blog. Some were curated list of interesting websites, some were almost like diaries, I was fascinated.

Needless to say you can guess what happened next, I followed suit and in June 1999 I purchased a domain name – www.snowgoon.co.uk – and some webspace and uploaded my own random little website and started writing content. I was mimicking what I’d seen other do (I’m an early adopter, not a culture maker) and having fun doing it.

That website is long gone but the posts still exist here in the archives. I didn’t know what a blog was back then (no-one did) but soon enough an online tool called Blogger came along and made it much much easier to publish content online and the rest, as they say, is history.

It was 20 years ago today that I published a piece of nonsense about Sunglasses to my own little website. Who’d have thunk I’d still be posting nonsense here 20 years later. I may have been going in and out of style, but I hope I’ve at least managed to raise a smile.