This is current for March-April 2022. This may not reflect how it is in May 2022 or September 2022 or March 2023 or even further into the future.
I remember hearing about Gemini in the summer of 2020, about a year after it became public knowledge. I was initially interested in it for the technology. After seeing the beginner-friendly nature of the Yesterweb community, however, I found that my interest in gemini shifted from the technological reasons to the potential ease of use of creation for the protocol: it's potentially superior beginner-friendliness versus creating a website of your own.
Gemini is a fairly new protocol (beginning in mid-2019) that is intended to be a lightweight hypertext protocol that is simpler than the web. Right now, Gemini has a reputation for being for the tech-savvy enthusiast, and it's not entirely undeserved. However, there are ways in which Gemini may be the easier to get into option for those new to the non-corporate part of the internet than making a website.
One of the main selling points of Gemini is that it is
than the web as said by
capsule (Gemini page) of the Gemini protocol. While this sounds
lightweight is something of a scary term to
non-technical people, as
lightweight is often used to mean
obtuse, the opposite couldn't be more true... at least
for the most part.
If you want to see what the fuss is about, you can use a proxy. The one I am using is the Yesterweb's Gemini proxy, but I actually wouldn't recommend it for serious beginner use at this point, as it is a bit clunky to get other URLs into the proxy. It is, however, the most customizable of the bunch. A very old-looking, but easier to use, proxy is found at Michael Lazar's Gemini Portal. There is another proxy, but it seems to either be down, or I can't get it to work in any browser.
However, if you're serious about Gemini, you'll eventually want to get a client. Depending on your usecase, you'll want a different client.
If you are a desktop user, the only client I feel is really worth discussing for a (presumably command line-wary) beginner, especially one looking to eventually create (even if not command line-wary), is Lagrange.
If you are on Android like I am, Lagrange is sort of an option, but it's not on the Play Store quite yet. I'm not a fan of this client as it has been buggy in the past, but Deedum is the only one on the Google Play Store at this moment. If you'd rather install an alternate app store to get Lagrange, you can get F-Droid then install the Lagrange Repository.
If you are on iOS, while there is work on Lagrange, it's even less of an option there than it is on Android. While I don't own an Apple-branded mobile device, I do have an Apple Silicon-based Mac, so I can test the only client of this nature on the App Store: Elaho. Based on my testing, it is not as buggy as Deedum has been for me and seems to work fine, if a bit awkward given the fact that I was using it on a non-touchscreen device. Actual touchscreen users, including a professional developer, that I spoke to seem to like it, however.
Browsing geminispace is difficult when you don't know where to start. While you can use a search engine like geminispace.info or TGLS, it can be hard to know what you intially want to see. Also, a big charm to places like here is the ability to explore.
A good way to find gemlogs (like weblogs but on Gemini) is to go through feed aggregators. Since a lot of what you see on Gemini is gemlogs, these are a good place to start.
My personal favorite way of exploring any internet protocol is through directories, which can also get you more varied content than gemlogs. A good place to get started would be Gemini Discovery, as it has more feed aggregators than I mentioned as well as other places to explore geminispace. My favorite directory is medusae.space, which is a directory like how Yahoo initially began as.
Here is an introduction to Gemtext, which is the markup for Gemini. It's a very simple markup to learn, and will take less time to learn than HTML and CSS. Even when compared to the simplest, pre-corporate interference, version of HTML, the <style>-free and <script>-free HTML 2.0, there is still a lot more to that version of HTML than Gemtext.
For hosting, there really are only two easy options if you're unfamiliar with things such as SSH.
However, they really are only relatively easy and radically different from each other.
Flounder uses a web interface, which is likely the more intuitive option for those who are brand new to any sort making their own online space.
Yestercities uses the Titan protocol, a sister protocol to Gemini, and flounder seems to be very web-based in regards to its management. Titan has support in Lagrange (which is why I recommended it) and the Emacs-based elpher (which I use, but someone new to the non-corporate internet probably doesn't). It also recently gained some degree of scripting support.
If you're more familiar with things like SSH, you can use a pubnix! SDF and The Tildeverse have many pubnixes that make great gemini hosts! Tilde.club also supports CGI scripting, which is more flexible than what yestercities does, though at the cost of security.
If you have experience with VPSes and want to use your own domain, you can always host your own! The server I host myself on my capsule is vger, which is designed to run on OpenBSD, the OS I use for my hosting. There are other servers to choose from. I recommend looking into both the list by the home page/capsule of the gemini project and what server software various pubnixes mentioned above are using, as recommendations aside from what I use are beyond the scope of this beginner-focused guide.
If you want to create a gemlog, it may not be a bad idea to also have a look at the feed specification for Gemini to get people to possibly subscribe if their client supports it.
I hope you find Gemini to be a welcoming place and easier to create in than the web. It may have more limitations, and if that's not what you want, the web is still full of places to be creative your way.
The main inspiration for this article is Gemini Quickstart. It's outdated at the time of writing, but it has a lot of really good tips.
A cool capsule with some really interesting stuff, including the famous Astrobotany, is mozz.us. It's a good place to find some interesting ideas for gemini.
Of course, what list of cool gemini links is complete without the creator of gemini himself, Solderpunk? His capsule is actually just his gopherhole proxied onto Gemini though.