When I was in college we were encouraged to make our own informational websites. Mind you, young whipper-snappers, this was before facebook. It was before myspace. Before friendster. We were more or less creating by hand what facebook does for us automatically, and with much cleaner, prettier results.
The typical personal website was very basic. You could put a header in a cool font! You could upload pictures of yourself, family, and friends. You could post a link to your email so people could get in touch with you. So yeah, pretty much proto-facebook.
My first website had an atrocious background picture (a small jpg of our school mascot if I remember correctly) that repeated in the background, and there were at least three animated gifs that were completely unrelated to the site content.
So to bring it back around, I am creating my first new website for the first time in sixteen years. Things have changed, grown more sophisticated, but looks like the same tenets are in place. Though if you went back in time and told sixteen-year-ago-me that he would be writing a blog he would probably look at you and say "what is a blog? I think I blogged last night after some bad dorm-cafeteria chinese food." Now where is the button to add that animated gif? Site title image complete with Photoshop lens flare and fire effect coming soon.