The Incredible Growth of the Web
by Dani Osborne

Dani Osborne

It’s amazing how much the web has grown in just a few short years. When I first got online, which was sometime around 1994, the web was virtually unknown, and there were very few size-related web sites. Now there are hundreds and perhaps even thousands. I remember when I first got on the web, I did a search for the word "BBW." That search resulted in only a handful of sites, one of which was Dimensions Online. Back then, Dimensions' web site was basically an advertisement for the magazine. Today, Dimensions Online is one of the largest and most interactive size-related web sites around, and now, if you do a search for “BBW,” you will get literally thousands of results. So many that it is nearly impossible to go through them all! At least not without getting sidetracked for hours (and sometimes days!)

The ever growing importance of the web is starting to affect our lives in a very positive way. For example, I have found quite a few plus size and super size clothing companies on the web. Many small clothing companies who normally would not have the resources to reach such a large audience, are now able to reach millions thanks to the web.

Sandie Sabo, Dimensions Fashion Editor, has a forum on our web site titled Phat Fashions where she gives a preview of her upcoming fashion column for Dimensions Magazine, and provides a comprehensive list of plus size clothing companies on the web. In addition Sandie’s list, Dimensions’ LinkMANIA link section lists several dozen other large-size clothing companies.

If you’re after social interaction, the number of social groups for large people and their admirers on the web is growing by leaps and bounds. We have many of them listed under Social Groups on our Events Calendar. We also list upcoming events, conventions, dances, etc. on Dimensions Online’s Events Calendar.

There are now social clubs in nearly every area of the country, where a few years ago, there was only a handful. The web makes it possible for groups such as these to recruit members, advertise events, and make friends. Quite a few of these sites even include photos of members as well as photos from their parties and dances. I find it to be a lot of fun to just browse through and see all of the happy fat people who probably would never have even met each other if it hadn’t been for the web!

It’s amazing how many large people and their admirers now have personal home pages, many of which are listed in Dimensions’ Homepages section. You don’t even need to have experience in HTML (hypertext markup language) —which is the programming language used on the web— to be able to make a home page, what with all of the “What You See is What You Get” HTML editors available. There are hundreds of big beautiful women who include sexy photographs of themselves on their personal pages. Several of the beautiful ladies who have graced the pages of Dimensions have web sites with their pictures on display as well. How’s that for heaven guys?

I also run a site called the BBW/FA Ring which is a ring of web pages dedicated solely to BBW and FAs with home pages on the web. A webring is a bunch of similar web sites whose owners display graphics or buttons on their web pages so that people following the ring can easily click to move onto the next site in the list which will eventually bring them back to where they started. There are currently almost 500 web sites in the BBW/FA Ring, which I find truly astounding.

NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, has had its own web site for several years now, providing all sorts of information and resources for big people. I am the Webmistress of that site as well and have tried to make it even more useful. The NAAFA site now includes the organization’s constitution and bylaws, a complete local chapter list, the NAAFA Book Service, a membership application page, a great discussion board, an events listing, a Fat People Hall of Fame, and many other great features. The online book service is one of my favorites, as you can order size acceptance books, magazines, videos, and other merchandise right online. You can pretty much find any information on NAAFA and its policies just by a quick visit to their web site.

The web is becoming so large that there is practically nothing you cannot find if you search for it. You can subscribe to magazines, purchase clothing, buy plane tickets, do your banking, pay your bills, do your taxes . . . the list is endless! It’s awesome and even a little frightening at times. To me, the web is a great thing for all the “little guys” out there and I only hope the big companies won’t commercialize it to death.

My biggest concern right now is that we will be so dependent on technology that if anything goes wrong and we no longer have access to it, we will be totally lost! This is definitely something to think about as the millennium approaches.

Until then, happy surfing, and I’ll see you on the web!

Dimensions Online Column