AD NAUSEAM: a copywriter's life

The Geocities diaspora, and my rite of return

Posted in Uncategorized by CopyBlogger on the April 9th, 2011

IT WAS BACK IN 1996 when I took The Dave Conley Portfolio online. A year or so earlier I had paid an Amsterdam outfit called Lost Boys Interactive (they’re still around) to make a CD-ROM portfolio, but results were mixed and making duplicates in America was difficult. So I became a settler on the digital frontier, a-scannin’ and a-buildin’  Web pages as a resident of Geocities.

If I am vaguely contemptuous of social media these days, it is because all the Facebook and Twitter stuff seems like a dumbed-down version of the Geocities sites I and millions of tech-illiterate hairdressers were cobbling together way back when. Honestly, I have many friends who now carry important-sounding titles as VPs or professors of social media … and it seems very dodgy to me. It’s new enough to be sexy for corporate squares, amorphous enough to sell as a paradigm shift, yet easy enough to be mastered by preteen girls with pagers. Congrats, friends. Like they say in “Dilbert,” I admire your ability to get paid for this. Now everybody’s friending and following — instead of bragging about blog traffic, and before that guestbooks. Same as it ever was, with a new flavor in a couple of years.

But I digress. A couple of years ago, when Geocities was getting shut down by Yahoo, I had to scramble to migrate over and keep a presence for job hunting. So I created the new Dave Conley Portfolio and this blog, resigned to the prospect of losing some of the old stuff. Which is why I was pleased to learn just yesterday about, an outfit that took on the awesome task of trying to mirror as much of Geocities’ 38 million pages as possible before it was lost. And sure enough, some of my stuff is in there. Not all, and not in a perfect format thanks to the advertising that ReoCities runs to help defray its costs, but enough to spark a little nostalgic pride.

Hey, here’s my original homepage.

Or my first page about meeting my future wife.

Here’s that group of B-to-B direct mail pieces I couldn’t get fixed on the new site.

And, of course, my cats. Because what is a Geocities site without an idiotic, anthropomorphic pets page?

So if you too were a Geocities customer whose youthful indiscretions included a celebrity tribute page or a pet shrine or a cache of scanned Instamatic family photos, check out ReoCities. Your first and best online self might still have a home out there, somewhere in that untwittered void we so amusingly called cyberspace.