Note: This post was originally created for Web 2.0-Based Learning and Performance at FSU.

I was a freshmen in high school in 2001 when my computer teacher taught us how to create websites with some HTML. Most of the class probably hated the project but I was immediately hooked. I thought that it was the coolest thing I had ever done. The best part was that the teacher told us that he would publicly host websites we create, if we wanted. And that is exactly what I did.

While writing this I thought it would be fun to see if I would be able to find my old website. So I went to and was surprised to find that they had indexed my first webpage. I am going to be trusting her and share it with you. I am kind of proud and embarrassed about it at the same time…. My first website (most of the images are broken because they didn’t all get archived).

Screen shot of my first website. There is a image of me, link to the guest book with a great GIF of a man signing a big book and links to my biographical page, and web radio stations I enjoyed.

Then I thought it would be fun to find the “Guestbook” that I had linked on my webpage. That was the real surprise. It was archived too! It was really amusing to read the posts on the Guestbook.

Screen shot of "Desmond's Guestbook"

Reading the guestbook reminds me of the early Web 2.0 days. I was so excited to be able to get feedback and meet new people on it. You can tell that those posting felt a similar way.

  • The school did not have any form of a message board so I received messages from students considering attending the school asking about my experience. Fortunately for school I enjoyed attending there.
  • My dad had attended the same school so some of his old classmates contacted me there to say hi to him.
  • On person left a comment about how their cousin attended the school. The funny thing is that I ended up going to college with her and being her friend years later.

There was no way to do a threaded conversation on the guestbook. It was more like Web 1.9. However, I do remember getting excited when someone left me a message and I would take the time to email them back.

Unfortunately, I even encountered trolls…. a few times someone posted mean profanity laden posts on my guestbook. I am pretty confident that it was another student or two at my school and it was upsetting to think that someone would do that. As we know that was just the tip of the iceberg and trolls are a regular part of the web 2.0 experience.

Today we view Web 2.0 interactions to be part of the default experience online. However, those first experience with Web 2.0 were pretty incredible. I realize that everyone’s experiences online were not isolated but instead they are networked together, that was transformative.

What was your first Web 2.0 Experience? Can you find any of your old sites online? If so, please share them in the comments.

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What a treasure! I enjoyed reading your post. I wish I had something to share but all of my high school memories would be in print. My first Web 2.0 experience would be work email. Not too exciting to think about now. But, at the time, we were thrilled. To be able to converse in almost real time (at least compared to snail-mail) was quite an improvement.

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