These old Internet GIFs are giving us ’90s flashbacks
For a certain generation of Internet users, there’s nothing that screams nostalgia as much as a really amateur-looking GIF. Usually containing some level of background artifacting (the little feathered pixels that make a GIF look fuzzy), simple animation, and nonsensical combinations of words and images, old Internet GIFs offer an insight into a time not-so-long ago, when whole computers had less storage space than even the smallest USB drives now.
So, you can imagine the intense nostalgia we felt when we laid eyes on the Internet Archive’s collection of “Under Construction” GIFs. Highlighted as part of The Atlantic‘s abandoned Internet imagery series, that particular collection of GIFs is put together by Internet Archive historian Jason Scott, who describes the ascent and descent of those kinds of GIFs as reflective of the way people think about the Internet: “Now, we know all sites are not done. If your site is done, something is wrong. It’s bad. You’re either out of money or you’re boring.”
As for the GIFs themselves? Look, we’re not saying that every website should have a section dedicated solely to explaining to viewers that they’re expanding and growing, but we’d kind of love if these quirky, kooky GIFs found a home somewhere outside of Scott’s dizzyingly disorienting collection page:
The Internet Archive is also the home of the Wayback Machine, which lets you revisit archived snapshots of your favorite websites. We can’t explain why we’re so fascinated by the early Internet, but we totally won’t judge you for spending an hour (or two, or three, etc.) going down that rabbit hole.
Photos via Internet Archive.