Hey, kids. You've probably heard adults tell you many times to be very careful about what you post online. Once you put content out there--be it Snapchat images, blog posts, or casually tossed-off tweets--it's very hard to make it disappear. This very important lesson in online behavior once again comes to light as the Internet has uncovered an Angelfire site from 1999, which appears to be the work of an Eminem-enamored 15-year-old named Mark Zuckerberg.
You may have heard of him. He's introducing an über app for Android later today.
The Hacker News has re-discovered this vestige of a not-quite-done-cooking future Web goliath. While there has yet to be an official confirmation from the man himself, there is fairly convincing evidence that the site is legit. The contact email sprinkled throughout links to "[email protected]," (Zuckerberg's middle initial is E). The meta data features this bit of code "CONTENT=Mark Zuckerberg." Additionally, the About section of the site introduces the creator thusly: "Hi, my name is...Slim Shady. No, really, my name is Slim Shady. Just kidding, my name is Mark."
The site is filled with all sorts of 1990s Java cray cray that might appeal to a nerdy tech-enamored high school freshman. For example, there's a large blinking yellow monster right below the front page's subhead "The only site where a yellow eye blinks at you."
Within the site, the future billionaire showcases some of his primordial programming skills including a GPA calculator for "all you psychos, myself included, who obsess over grades" and an unnecessarily complex Java-enabled Molecule Viewer.
A section of the site titled The Best lists a young Zuckerberg's various likes and dislikes. Here we learn that young Zuck loves quesadillas, StarCraft, and lasers. We also see that he really doesn't think much of someone named Douglas Kim and also doesn't have many females in his social circle.
The Facebook origin lore includes a tale aobut how a college-aged Zuckerberg created a viral sensation with a website called Facemash that allowed users to compare the relative attractiveness of fellow Harvard students. Indeed Facemash may have been an early lesson for Zuckerberg about how interest in one's peers could drive Web traffic. However, Mark's Angelfire page already showcases an interest in overlaying a social aspect upon our virtual lives. In a section simply called The Web, Mark has created a program that translated his social circle into a graphically-rendered "web." As he describes the project:
As of now, the web is pretty small. Hopefully, it will grow into a larger web. This is one of the few applets that require your participation to work well. If your name is already on The Web because someone else has chosen to be linked to you, then you may choose two additional people to be linked with. Otherwise, if you see someone who you know and would like to be linked with but your name is not already on The Web, then you can contact me and I will link that person to you and put you on The Web. If you do not know anyone on The Web, contact me anyway and I will put you on it. In order for this applet to work, you must E-Mail me your name and the names of the two people that you would like to be linked with. Thank you!
As the millenials come to positions of power, it will be interesting to watch the ghosts of awkward stages come to light. Venerable politicians and leaders of industry will all, in time, come to face the part of their lives that currently hide in the back pages of a Google search.