There is No Manifesto
Hello everyone. I wanted to talk about how I feel about my website. I attempted to write multiple manifestos, but none of them really felt right. Most of the time, I felt like a lot of the things I pointed out were hypocritical or had already been said by others. I want to say, the most common thing I see in manifestos is about the ad-ridden state of the internet. And I somewhat-completely agree with these, but I can't say I made my site to escape that hellscape.
I am a mentally ill person, and I have always been obsessed with the social media numbers game. I've beaten it once when I used Wattpad between the years 2013-2016 (the power of fanfiction written by an edgy teenager), but since then, I have not been able to come out on top. When I made neocities, I was just.. Looking for a place to host my artwork I think? Or I was fascinated by the websites of my oldest friends? It's honestly hard to remember now. The beginnings of my website was a simple top navbar with pages that hosted my commission information, a live feed of my Instagram, an about page, a little blog, and a projects page. It was nothing special. To avoid the numbers game, I kept my profile disabled to avoid getting followers or profile comments.
Eventually, I began to obsess over other websites. I became friends with the first webmaster I found on neocities. His website is no longer around, and I'd rather not name it out of respect for his privacy, but meeting him resulted in me putting more effort into my site, trying to join districts, joining webrings, making my profile public, you know.. Perhaps this was the beginning of the end.
I don't really remember when my site got 100k views.. It reached 200k recently, and the thought makes me nauseas. I've once again become obsessed with the numbers game. The followers, the comments, the cbox, the webring I host, my buttons.. Everytime I see a number go up, I feel that dopamine rush Instagram used to give me.
And honestly, I know if I'm feeling this, it isn't just me, right? I can't be the only one who feels like they've fallen into another hole? Sometimes, sites disappear, and I wonder if those people are finally free.
There's other things I've noticed as well. Parts of the community believing neocities holds some greater purpose. You should only come here if you're knowledgeable, if you have interesting things to say, if you won't abandon your website after a few months... It's so silly to me. The worst part is that at first I agreed with these posts out of some weird desire to be respected or important or I guess to feel like.. I agreed with the people I used to admire? I was doing what I did when I was 15.. Agreeing with people I thought was cool to fit in.
If you didn't know, Kyle, the admin of neocities, often calls Neocities a replacement for twitter... Which makes it really funny to me that people get upset about neocities users using their sites as carrds or a way to host links or some other silly thing. I just want to say, thank god Neocities isn't like twitter. I would rather people host their links or copy paste their carrd info than let this site become a replacement for twitter dot com.
My website turns 3 years old on June 19th of 2023, five months from now. I should be really happy. I see my button on people's pages. My website has 73 pages total according to a XML sitemaps. I've poured my soul out here... Yet... I consider leaving it all like I left twitter and Instagram.. to escape the numbers game, to escape the jealousy, to no longer feel like I've got my soul invested in another social media site. I saw an article saying neocities gives you a break from 24/7 social feeds, but.. neocities has a feed... And I remember at some point, there was drama for weeks on that feed. When I open my feed, I am always nervous.
I want to disable my profile, and I have, a few times, but I do genuinely enjoy socializing with the neocities community though I do it very rarely. And, I am addicted to those numbers.. I like to watch them go up. If I disable my profile, I know I'd just regret it a month from now. I'm in my own little hell world now. I love my website, and I have a lot of respect for neocities users, but perhaps.. This place wasn't built for me. I have no plans of leaving for now, but I just.. want to say I am considering.
I really love everyone I've met here even if this place is slowly becoming unhealthy for me. I'm happy I now have experience running a webring. i love looking at new sites that follow me! I really like looking at new sites in my neocities feed. It really is wonderful here, and I thank Kyle for making it, but for now, there is no manifesto, not until I feel like I'm finally free.