Starting at the dawn of the web, retroactively named Web 1, a new generation of writers and artists burst onto the internet independent of any publisher, promoter or label. In time, many of them would become leading cultural figures: writers and editors Cory Doctorow, Paul Ford and Choire Sicha, musicians Justin Bieber and Adele, comics artists Kate Beaton of “Hark! A Vagrant” and Randall Munroe of “xkcd” and political pundits Ana Marie Cox, Markos Moulitsas and Josh Marshall. All these and more first came to public notice on personal websites and early, barely-moderated networks like Blogger and Myspace. The heady, anarchic spirit of Web 1 emanated from people like these, many of them deeply weird, who’d come up on their own terms.
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