Simone's Blog (no JS mode)

Relearning how to surf

Around a year ago I started a project called Awesome Web Desktops, this is a collection of websites that look like Desktop GUIs. I was always quite fascinated by the use of the desktop metaphor on web apps and most of all personal websites. It amazes me to see how authors try to recreate and cram as much nostalgic details as they can. Although some recurring patterns might emerge there's always something very unique in each one of these artworks.

kid surfing

The pursuit for new sites to add to my Web Desktops collection led me to explore a vast amount of linkrolls, webrings and directories. I discovered that there's still a lot of "indie" web out there, people still care about creating a personal space instead of relying on giagantic platforms where to host their content. Being mostly bored at home this year, just like the rest of you, I started surfing way more than before and it felt as if finding new sites and seeking new content (from one href to another) was releasing a lot of dopamine into my blood stream. Almost like exploring a Wolfenstein maze looking for new rooms where rooms are actually tabs opened in my browser.

I feared this behaviour of mine was actually another form of doomscrolling. And indeed it was... During my link clicking sessions I rarely stumbled upon websites to read the content and learn about its creators, most of the times I was looking for another Linkroll page to explore and trasverse, just like a blind bot crawler; what an eejit.

Could social networks have mutated my usage of the web, always looking for new stuff to stimulate my brain with?

Maybe, but the first step to stop this was actually to be conscious about it. Shortly after I decided to start navigating in a slow paced way when going through new directories, trying to appreciate every single creation that ended up on my browser. Still I realized that this shift was not quite easy especially when we're tought to use the internet as a distraction from a boring task or purely as a necessity. I'm not saying that is all bad, after all we probably need some sort of healthy and controlled procrastination, but I'd say we should also learn to use this web to get inspired and appreciate other people's artworks.

Today we have lots of ways to find new interesting work to get inspired, some great virtual metropolies I like follow are: Neocities,,,, Gossip's Web. They're all very amazing projects that promote a plethora of creativity and a personal corners in this huge messy web. Yet in my humble opinion nothing will beat a nicely organized Linkroll/Blogroll page on your personal website. I am always curious to explore one and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one here.

Posted on 23 December 2020