Author’s Note: I’m currently in the process of migrating old blog posts to this new system. That may mean some links, syntax highlighting, and other details are broken or missing temporarily. Sorry for the inconvenience!
I'm not a very confident writer. That's probably not how you're supposed to begin a blog post, which rather underlines my point. "Rather underlines"? Who talks like that?
This isn’t to say that I don’t write. I tend to keep a journal, I write various scripts and things, and in general I’m quite happy to type away at a keyboard. It’s the sharing of that writing that I tend to shy away from. *ahem* from which I shy away.
But I think that it’s important to start sprucing up my own online “home”, in the form of this website, and I want to touch briefly on that.
Our online personas live across a variety of social networks, and I have to admit that the idea is rather scary. You may cringe at the concept of a “personal brand” (and I’ll cringe right along with you. Let’s have a cringe party!), but the fact is that while we have some control over the things that we say, we have far less control over the context in which is is broadcast.
Each of these networks comes with its own sets of constraints. Content may be restricted to 140 characters. Or it may only show up in someone’s feed if its reached a critical mass. Worse, all of these conditions are subject to frequent (and unannounced) changes.
I like making stuff on the internet. But I don’t like the volatility that comes with a dependence on these networks. There’s definitely a huge benefit as far as being able to reach people, but there are huge costs as well.
Get off my lawn
I have to confess something: I like email. I like email and webpages and IRC and open protocols. I can trust that they’re going to remain largely the same for the foreseeable future. I can change hosting if my website gets slow; I can switch email clients if one starts acting weird. These tools are open, customizable, and hackable. Social networks are not.
I do wonder to what extent that will always be the case. It’s entirely possible we’ll end up in some Ready Player One scenario where a single company provides such immense value, that we all get locked in to a particular closed platform. But that’s probably a discussion for another time.
Until then, I’m blogging by necessity. I’m happy to chill at Facebook, Reddit, and everywhere else. But I really need to stake out my own internet home.