Colin Delany History June 5, 2014

Screenshots: What a Political Website Looked Like in 1994

Earlier this week, we got to read Chris Casey’s look back at launching the first congressional website for Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994. But what did this slice of the political web look like 20 years ago? Thanks to Chris’s collection of screenshots, we can see it. And, it’s tiny! The shots below, from Kennedy’s first website, his first campaign site (1994), an even-earlier BBS site and a 1996 congressional site are really narrow — they had to fit on screens that are miniscule by today’s standards.

That BBS screenshot? That’s the real size, or close to it. Likewise the websites — they’re just a few hundred pixels wide. And, they’re mostly links, only one stage away from a Gopher site (look it up, kids). Good stuff, Chris, and thanks for letting us share it. Another highlight: Blink tag!!!

If you want more, BTW, check out his full collection of 1990s political sites on Flickr. And think…how will today’s web look to us (or our children) in 2034? Most likely, just as primitive, if they even recognize them as a form of communications at all. Such is the nature of technological change.

Before the Web, There Were Online Bulletin Boards

Kennedy BBS

Chris’s Flickr notes: Kennedy on North Shore Mac BBS – 1993. North Shore Mac was a BBS that was privately owned and operated by Jonathan Gourd of Beverly, Massachusetts. It was the original home of the ‘Sen. Kennedy Releases’ forum, and shared that forum with a network that grew to about seven or eight other BBS systems that also ran on ‘First Class’ BBS software.

Pagetop: The First Congressional Website

Early congressional website

Notes: Kennedy Web – 1994. The first web site for a member of Congress, thanks to MIT, Eric Loeb and John Mallery. Check the easy to remember URL and the old-style Netscape ‘N’ in the browser. The ‘iiip’ in the URL stands for MIT’s “Intelligent Information Infrastructure Project’. At this point, there was no such thing as ‘senate.gov’ yet.

Kennedy Campaign Website: 1994 Edition

Ted Kennedy 1994 campaign website

Notes: Kennedy Campaign – 1994. Launched about six weeks prior to election day, this was Kennedy’s first campaign web site. I was particularly proud of my use of the new ‘BLINK’ tag on the Election Day ‘GET OUT AND VOTE!’ link at the top of the page.

Kennedy Congressional Site: 1996 Edition

Ted Kenndy 1996 website

Notes: Senator Kennedy Web – 1996…Tables! This version was created shortly after I left Kennedy’s office, I believe by an intern working with Peter Loge. I recall at the time that once concern was the tables, because at the time AOL’s browser couldn’t cope with tables. And check the URL, this one is hosted at senate.gov.

Thanks again, Chris!

cpd

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