This Is What the First Online Magazines Looked Like

September 10, 2013 | Kyle Chayka

Oh, you haven’t heard of Word Magazine? The website hasn’t been very active since 1998. Yet, Word was an influential website/magazine, established in 1995 and published new content daily for over five years, treating each story as a unique interface design experiment.

According to various sources ,it may have been one of the first ever blogs, so much that the term hadn’t even been invented yet. The internet was still very much going through it’s “wild west” period. It’s clear from browsing the site that most people were still trying to figure out exactly what to use it for.

Here’s an excerpt from a rather lengthy letter from the editor:

Nobody is even reading this. I could say absolutely anything and no one would even know. That’s the irony of the Internet. A zillion people saying a zillion things, total communication, freedom of speech, all that crap, but nobody’s listening and nobody cares.

Sure, internet access was far less ubiquitous back then, but Word remains as a time capsule from a period when it was very difficult to share photos of your lunch. For its efforts, Word has won several awards from I.D. Magazine and Print Magazine, among others and was placed in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center and the Museum of the Moving Image.

Oh, and much to our surprise artist Yoshi Sodeoka had previously taken on the job of Creative Director of the influential site in 1996.

Browse some choice screenshots from the archive above.