There was a time before search engines (there was even an internet before search engines) where the only way to find a webpage was to transcribe its precise URL. Writing on that internet was a bit like whispering to yourself in a heavy metal club; your voice utterly indistinguishable from the din.

And it was in this disinhibiting cacophony that many of us came to possess our formative notions of what the internet was: just the internet, we called it; only the internet. We didn’t realise then that everything was going to become indexed, searchable. And even when it happened, it took us a while recognise the implications: that at any moment the music could stop and you’d be screaming loudly into the silence, with everyone else staring at you...

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