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We Were Pretty Cringe in the 2000s

Back in high school... no, even before high school, I was that weird kid in school that just didn't seem to be able to relate to anyone and their hobbies. Every girl who was 12 years old seemed to be really into boys all of a sudden (like what the hell, you thought they had COOTIES 4 months ago?!?!), doing their hair, clothes, these diaries...


Oh, let me explain these diaries.


If you were living in a big city, you had these ASIAN MALLS:



Which had these CUTE ASIAN SHOPS:



Which sold diaries like these:



And what do you do with them, you ask? Well, think of the Pokemon Trading Card game or Digimon or Yugioh cards but like... with cute schedule/diary paper. Yeah, we'd buy a diary or two NOT TO WRITE IN THEM. Nooooooo. We'd buy them so we can get CUTE papers just to TRADE FOR OTHER CUTE PAPERS. Yeah. I know. This was like the nerdy cool Asian girl thing to do. It's bizarre. I suppose not anymore bizarre than kids trading rocks or whatever, but it's really strange thinking back to things I enjoyed.


Anyway, back to the story here. I was 12, had no relateable hobbies, and I somehow found myself on a few fanfiction websites before fanfiction was cool??


I mean, I think ffnet had existed then already. And it's crazy... it really hasn't changed much in the last 20 years or so, other than adding new functions and whatnot. But this was when Harry Potter was just at it's peak, and HP fans of the internet wrote fanfics. That was the cool thing to do. The more controversial pairings had their own fanfiction posting site outside of ffnet that was sort of a private affair (don't ask how I know). Like, this was really huge. People even established names for themselves as writers in the fanfic world. Like published writers, but for fics. If you were a good writer, people will know you.


Asian fandoms also had a site of their own since ffnet was mostly dedicated to western fandoms.


If you like reading/writing fanfics and loved Asian dramas (or movies or music, whatever your pairing is), you go on this website call WInglin (winglin.net/fanfic - it doesn't exist anymore, so don't bother clicking that).


These were mostly teens writing headcanons before headcanons were a thing.


But even on Winglin, there were writers that you would just... know. I mean, if you were a 14-year-old kid with too much time on their hands and scrolling through almost every single fanfic that's to offer on the website lol. (uh.. me)


I was thinking about this today and wanted to know if it still exists.


Well, it doesn't. But nothing the WayBackMachine can't fix!



Pretty nuts! I spent so much of my teen years on this website and I recognize so many of the authors there even though I never read any of their fanfics.


You can see the reminisce of the 2000s internet with all the LEeTsPeAk and like .::SYMBOLZ::.


My god.


We were so cringe in the 2000s lol.


And all the popular Asian fandoms in the 2000s... all frozen in time. It was very Chinese-driven sure, but you can also find a lot of kpop and jpop stuff here. There's even a Tom Riddle & Hermione Granger fanfic here (that was really good, btw - don't judge!). So it's not limited to Asian things, but it was mostly teens and young adults who loved Asian things.


Now, you'd think (says no one ever) - "man, how can you spend this much time on a fic site?"


Well, my friend. Let me tell you...


Writing, duh.


No, lol.. Yes, of course. But here's the thing about Winglin that was really neat. You don't NEED to write to join in. You see, my friends... I know you don't care... but the thing about Winglin is that it is somewhat of a popular contest. Anyone can post on the site. And if you post a fanfic on the website, it immediately shows up on the main page. There's really no filter. You post or you update, you go on the main page.


So you can kind of see how chaotic that is if lots of people are updating and posting something. At it's peak, I remember you can easily find 3 or 4 new fanfics on the main page after you refresh it in 5 minutes.


You can kind of understand why people are using all the leetspeak and symbols now right? Everyone and anyone is trying to get the attention of young readers to click on their fanfic and get a comment from them.


Oh yeah, those comments are gratifying.


Another way writers try to get readers is having a nice-looking site page. Winglin was very much like AsianAvenue and all the social media networking sites in the 2000s. You can edit the background, the colours and you want a POSTER.


Yeah, you know - like all them movies and dramas, you need a POSTER.


Guess what this girl did on winglin other than getting all the good writers to notice me in the comments section? (Admittedly I made A LOT of friends on Winglin and a few I still keep in contact with on Facebook)


Fuck yeah, I made posters.


14-year-old me was a fucking Photoshop wiz making cringey fanfiction posters. #noshame


Look at this shit I made in the 2000s ok




I was so ahead of my time on Photoshop lol. Keep in mind I was 14 and I did not go to school for any graphic design training or anything.


(so cringe)


Since you made it this far... you must be asking... did you write any fanfics?


Eh...


Yeah, we don't talk about those anymore.

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