Hope for a Better World - The Web Manifesto of mizuki.world
written on 03/11/2023
I certainly didn't grow up in the era of websites like geocities, and thus don't necessarily have the experience of nostalgia for the old web or for website building. However, what I did experience of the internet as a teenager really shaped my disappointment in modern social media, and my decision to migrate to my own website.
When I was a young teen I spent a great amount of time on tumblr. I was mentally ill, disabled, and traumatized, and thus wanted an escape on the internet where I didn't have to think about the implications of my life. While I certainly did find that on tumblr, it was in no way healthy for me. It was an environment that thrived on fighting and drama, and I constantly found myself feeding into a cycle of seeking attention, breaking down about it, then seeking it again.
Even after I left tumblr and went to other platforms my experience was no better. On Vent I was groomed and was constantly exposed to negativity and drama between cliques. On twitter there was constant outrage and a need to fight others over everything. Even on amino, in moderated communities, there was a strange sense of cliques and of needing to get clicks on your posts and say whatever was needed to fit in.
As I got older, I began to wonder: why could I not find a space for myself on the internet that was healthy, no matter how hard I tried? As I looked into it, and I began to see others wondering the same thing.
The answer to me, in simple terms, is the epidemic of capitalistic internet. Slowly, the internet has become centralized into the same 3 - 5 platforms, where corporations rely on algorithms to keep people using. Hate, fighting, and anger are pushed to the front page because it gets the most clicks, and people are sucked into endless scrolling of algorithmic content to get the dopamine hit of likes and posts. It feeds a culture where hate and black and white thinking are encouraged, because they get the most engagement. There is little room for love, for healthy discussion, and for trying to better the world around you.
As I came to this realization, I began to grow discouraged. As much as I loved the small discord servers I spent time in, it wasn't enough. I wanted a space online where I could really be myself, and where I could post things I loved without fear of the negatives that come with social media.
That was where, in 2022, I discovered the small web movement and neocities.
At first I only used neocities to host my oc content independently, but I soon realized I could do so much more than that. This was where I could finally make myself a space free from capitalist internet, a place where my true intent for being online could shine.
That, to me, is what this website is. It is an outcry against capitalism, against hate and vitriol online, against conglomerate internet and a world driven by corporations. However, more than that, it is an expression of hope. An expression that there is still ways to make your world better, and still ways to find joy even in the dark state of our world right now. Little things, be it making your own website, showing care to people you meet who seem outcast, smiling at someone who seems alone - these things do make a difference. You don't have to change the world to change your world.
Even in my bitterness for the world and the state of the internet, there is hope for a better world. I hope that this website and my participation in the small web movement can show something of that.