I came across a link to unique website called Special Fish and got lost in the nostalgia of the old web and the creativity of people. I think someone referred to Special Fish as social media site, but I don’t think that captures it. The FAQ says:

Special Fish is a directory of profiles. Each profile is composed of a text-based log, lists, and links.

It’s a simple site, but it has an interesting community around it. There are all these interesting profiles, lots of them linking to other weird, cool, interesting places. There’s a random button on the site to help you explore and find new things to read.

There are more interesting links at the bottom of the Special Fish page that lead down rabbit holes of their own. The creator of Special Fish links to their site which is full of interesting links and projects they’ve worked on, one of which is Gossip’s Web. It’s a directory of handmade webpages. The site mentions what counts as handmade.

To add to the joy of Gossip’s Web, they have a blog that includes text interviews with people about their handmade websites, adding even more to this wonderful community around building websites.

The creator of Special Fish also made Gossip’s Cafe. It’s a place where people hang out throughout their day and post little comments and links to music they’re listening to. The site is open from 8am until 11pm, so you have times to show up and leave the cafe, which is a different feeling than being always connected to sites with infinite scrolling. You don’t need a login to add a note similar to writing on someone’s guestbook back when those were cool.

There are several interesting links I found clicking around.

People are now building tools to help others build fun sites that don’t look like they were built with Tailwind CSS.

  • mmm is a place to make websites “that feel like you.”
  • Multiverse is a “a constellation of internet corners, a micro-blogging network”
  • Glitch which is more of a company but still devoted to the same aesthetics and a great tool for tinkering

To add to it, there are agencies that build these kinds of interesting, unique websites for companies, such as Linked by Air. They developed their own CMS for their customers called Economy that lets people maintain their quirky sites.

I spend a lot of my internet time on social media sites like Twitter or tech websites. It all feels polished and focused on developing personal brands or writing about tech and coding. That’s not a bad thing, but it is fun to escape from that all every once in a while and surf the web of interesting, fun websites made by hand like one about weaving.