As reported earlier, web editor Jo Luijten is causing a stir with his whimsical flashback video of what Twitter's user experience might have been like if it were invented in the 1980s.
Other retro videos posted on the Luijten's website, Squirrel Monkey, also employ an 8-bit sensibility to spoof popular apps like Angry Birds and Draw Something, but his dial-up era reframing of Facebook is something special.
Luijten's parody of the social network works on two levels. First, his inclusion of many of the most garish 90s Internet tropes -- low-quality bitmaps and the scanners that scan them, Netscape Navigator, atrocious CGI animation, eye-splitting page layouts and defunct hosting services -- are sure to tickle the sensibilities of anyone old enough to remember when getting on the Internet wasn't the instantaneous, ubiquitous, nearly automatic process that it is today.
But hidden below the woefully pixelated, VHS-transfered veneer of Luijten's time warp is a valid criticism of Facebook itself.
Whereas many of his videos merely recast a current technology in the vestiges of older ones, the Facebook spoof highlights the vainer, more ridiculous aspects of social networking: how our inner narcissists seek to "friend" people who aren't really friends, or grace the world with our most banal status updates. It's not neo-Luddism, but it's nice to see someone take a digital hammer to the glossy exterior of our brave new world.
If you're looking for some additional 90s nostalgia on the Internet, you can join the Clarissa Explains It All Facebook page, or troll Yeah Flashback for a twice-daily dose of '90s pop-culture refuse.