I think I was around 6 or 7 when we got our first computer which was some sort of snazzy-looking Amstrad word processor with a floppy disk drive and basic programs. I know you could send emails but I don’t think there was much in the way of ‘websites’.
We got various other desktop machines across the years and when I was 9 or so I remember going on Netscape to use the internet instead of dial-up as my Mum had gotten broadband through NTL. It was a complete revolution not having to listen to that annoying buzzing tune as it attempted to connect you to the world wide web.
That was the late 90’s/early 2000’s and, as a young girl, I had my favourite websites that I remember wasting hours on back in those days. Today I’ve come over all nostalgic thinking about them all and so I thought I’d run through the ones that stick out in my mind and see if you remember them too…
I used to spend my life on Neopets playing games, hoping to stumble across a rare paintbrush, dubloon or faerie in a jar and collecting avatars. I’m pretty sure I even faked the odd sick day off school to skive an afternoon on it when I was miraculously ‘feeling much better now’.
I would point you in the direction of my old account, as the website is still going, but it got frozen because I *might* have been cheating and using two accounts to use things like the Wheel of Excitement or the Tombola, oopsy. I had a rainbow uni, she was my favourite, how could I have been so careless?
Neggs, scratchcards, Dice-a-Roo, the Brain Tree quests, Destruct-o-Match, Meerca Chase, I made a new account a few years ago, just for fun – nothing serious like before (it’s all VERY important when you’re 12 years old) and every now and then I go on to play some games if I’m procrastinating or have writer’s block.
What’s great is when my allotted internet time was up and done with, my Mum would go on my account and play the games for me so I’d wake up the next day with a serious boost in NP. She didn’t even know how much of a favour she was doing me, bless her!
I was SO obsessed that I convinced her to buy me Neopets Premium when it was first announced so I didn’t miss out on anything and I even went on it on Christmas Day to make sure I didn’t forgo the advent calendar offering that day.
I’ll be honest I didn’t really care about my pets. They were usually ‘starving’ or ‘dying’ (I know, I’m cruel but I just wanted the cool, rare goodies OK?)
This, together with Neopets, was one of my favourite websites and I used to be absolutely addicted. You had an online profile and you could earn badges by answering a certain number of problems in the problem pages (‘Agony Aunt’), writing poems or stories and even become what was known as a ‘Guardian’ to help out other members.
Even now, the more I think about it the more I miss it. iI was like a little sisterhood for teenage girls.
I had so many lovely friends on there and Googling it now it seems that so many of us grew up with the website playing a huge part in our lives. Everything was monitored and it was a really safe space to make friends and work through issues at school or at home.
If you were sweary or you did something you shouldn’t of you’d end up getting banned for a certain amount of time and you could view offences and their consequences in the ‘House of Fairness’. Of course you’d just make a new account until yours was free again so it wasn’t the end of the world entirely!
There was a virtual city where you could take your character and get her hair done, dress her up and chat with other users and if you were pleased with how you’d styled them you could share it via the Catwalk section. You could also collect Girlcards but I can’t remember what happened when you got a full set – more Girlpoints I guess?
I remember buying credits with my mobile phone and you could earn girlpoints to help get your ‘status’ level up which was all mystical with space-related names like ‘solar’ and ’emerald’ getting more grand as you went up the hierarchy.
You could also get custom layouts for your posts which was pretty cool and you could charge people in points to buy them if you were any good at HTML.
I’m trying to remember my username but I kept on changing it all of the time. I’m sure I was called Lulubella (this one stuck for ages and is used for other things as well). You also had little avatars next to your name to help you become easily recognisable in the community. Arghh man, it was such a good site, so many memories!
I didn’t really get in to Myspace until I was at college and when Facebook came along and gained popularity I refused to join it at first because it just didn’t make sense compared to good old Myspace.
I remember the excitement of seeing that the lad I fancied at college was online and frantically messaging my best friend on MSN to send her copies of our conversations before updating my Myspace status to something cryptic to further get his attention.
Do you remember those surveys you used to fill out and post on the bulletin board?
#22 Are you in love right now? Yes, I just wish I had the courage to tell her.
(Message to ~*~KaYlEiGh2k8~*~: Oh my god, is he talking about me? He must be because we’ve just been messaging again. It’s a sign, eeek what do I say now?)
I can still access my old account (aside from the cringeworthy messages thank god!) and it’s nice to look through my photos and remember all of the drunken times we had.
I’m kind of sad Facebook took over, Myspace was way cooler back then.
I didn’t really like Bebo but aside from Myspace it was the ‘big thing’ when I was at school.
All I remember was spending ages picking my design (‘skin’) and being scared of getting the answers wrong on peoples’ questionnaires when we were supposed to be BFFs.
It’s not something I spent a lot of time on myself as I just didn’t ‘get it’ but a lot of my friends were on there constantly!
I do remember that you had a white board where your friends could write messages which was good and a place to post all of your ‘stuff’ which was mainly songs lyrics that were ‘so you’ right then.
Again, I didn’t have too much time for this as I was too busy on Neopets and Girland but a lot of my mates at school raved about Habbo and I went on it at their houses with them quite often.
It was more of a chatroom than anything else where you could virtually meet up with existing friends to make new ones but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Stemming from the layouts on Girland, I spent heaps of time designing my own websites on Freewebs and filling them with Dollz and other glitzy rubbish.
We’d make dollz of ourselves and all of our friends and display them together with far too many iframe menus and loads of other ‘awesome HTML’ we’d picked up.
Dollz were basically virtual dolls that you dressed up by dragging and dropping their clothes and accessories on to them before saving it as a completed image or you could download ones that the site owners had already made and styled for you.
Dollzmania is actually still going so I thought I’d have a go at making a couple for you. They’ve now introduced themes and lots of styles to suit different niches so I guess it must still be popular?
It’s actually still really fun! I used to fill up our computer with all of my saved ‘creations’ which didn’t go down too well with my parents but oh well.
P.S. They also do male dollz so you can make yourself a handsome fella and although I can’t find it at the moment, they used to do dollz of all different shapes and sizes.
|I used to
|…and I was the envy of my friends!|
So to make your own websites, design your own layouts and make everything look very pretty and shiny, you had to learn some basic HTML most of which I picked up from various sites including the, still as it was, Funky Chickens.
Some of the codes don’t work anymore as everything’s changed but you had things like annoying pop-up buttons that wouldn’t go away, marquees of scrolling text and background songs.
All you’d need to crash any visitor’s struggling computer and make them wait an age for it to load properly!
My first foray in to the world of blogging was with an angsty LiveJournal account that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of!
I think I mostly treat it like a diary and did a lot of moaning and spent more time tweaking with my layout or getting new ones from CreateBlog (or other similar websites) than writing anything interesting or profound.
I also used to spend ages on Photoshop designing my own graphics and avatars as well but at least it taught me the basics for where I am now (and nabbed me an A* in Media Studies!)
So, do you remember any of these websites?
What was your favourite website as a teenager?