Financial TimesFinancial Times

The tools to be a good citizen of the internet

By Dave Lee

14 Sep 2022 · 2 min read

Editor's Note

Many of us are "stuffed into the same template" when it comes to the internet. The no-code movement is bringing back some freedom and creativity.

When I was growing up in the ’90s and early 2000s, the internet felt like a blank canvas. If you wanted a presence on the web, you had to build it, either by writing HTML code or using primitive, though at the time groundbreaking, services such as Yahoo’s GeoCities. As a 14-year-old, my pride and joy was my GeoCities site, a nerdy fan page for the PC game RollerCoaster Tycoon.

Over the years, this changed. By the time we’d gone from GeoCities to Facebook, via the messy MySpace, our personal corners of the web looked and acted in the same way. Someone who may once have been inspired to build a website would start a Facebook group instead. Sure, it meant large swaths of the population could get online. And the functionality on offer far exceeded what the vast majority of people could build themselves. But for digital self-expression, it was a bit of a disaster: billions of people all stuffed into the same template.

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