Last tended: August 1st, 2023
It’s been a year since I started this website. I’ve spoken a bit about why here֎ and there֎, but this a “How It’s Going” post not a “How It Started” one. Early into my fascination with personal websites, I came across Buster Benson֎ and his Annual Reviews֎ (also his Life in Weeks֎); consider me inspired֎. It’s always impressive to meet people [#2֎ & #3֎] who’ve been at this for a hearty while; they ain’t the average.
Before The Groove
For the first few months, I’d describe working on this site as cathartic֎. Never had I felt I could speak (publicly) as freely. And while it’s important to be mindful of limits֎, I think we’re good for the time-being. But as my primary goals inched towards completion, a sort-of “What Now?” began popping up in the back of my mind. I didn’t have an answer for it, so I looked to others֎ for one. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t through the "#1 search engine"֎ that I found interesting ideas, but via grassroots collectives and communities, like webrings֎.
At first it was kinda fun just trying to join as many as I could, like amassing scout badges֎, especially with how ritualistic / esoteric some of the initiations can be. And while I continue to join any that I can, my priority is on connection and accessibility, not collecting or attention-seeking. You can’t catch ’em all, nor should you desire to, lest you condemn yourself to superficial ties and the consequences of broad aspiration֎.
A pivotal moment for me was joining the MelonLand Forum֎, this was about halfway through the year. Its webring possessed the unique requirement of becoming a community member. Long story short: I was nudged to conform, I did not. But it was a great learning experience on the balance between the individual and the group, the importance of assessing a community thoroughly & on making reasonable concessions; particularly when the context of personal website autonomy is taken into account. I hold no hard feelings / ill-will.
Leaving MelonLand had me pretty down though. I’d never been a part of a group and I was basically rejected out of my first one. Took me a month to bounce back, but I did more than just get on that horse. First I joined basement community֎, a freshly-born forum, and I’ve had a great time there. Next up was this crazy collection of personal sites made by an anime-worshipping image board֎, the Lainchan Webring֎. They can be a bit rough (they turned me down at first), but they’re pretty cool imo. And, finally, both of these places led me to CozyNet IRC֎ & Agora Road֎, my most frequented hang-outs.
So, I also joined the Yesterweb Forum֎ just in time to watch it collapse, like, front row, yo. I’m not going to go into that, but, if you’re interested, then consider checking-out:
These communities, they value personal websites and how using them allows for freedom of expression; a better internet. I’m personally not interested in people biting their tongues or playing online politics. If you have something you feel worth saying, I want to hear it. If these gathering places close down, I wanna be able to reach you. Websites allows us to be more than a social-media profile and, imo, they can enable stronger bonds between people.
Socially, I like where I am right now. I’ve flirted with a few other places (Blue Dwarf֎, 32-Bit Cafe֎) and they’re wonderful, but my time is finite. I wanna make sure that, while I was with them, I was truly a part of my communities; that I actually got to be an Agora Road Traveler, a basement-dweller (lol, working title!), a Cozybro. To me, it’s about choosing to be real instead of fake; I’m so sick of fake…
Ultimately though, personal website-ing is about YOU. Connections can serve you well, but it’s exactly that: THEY. SERVE. YOU. Too many places right now thinking YOU. SERVE. THEM. You are both a part-of, and more than, the spaces you inhabit. Don’t diminish yourself by confusing who you are with a label֎.
It could even be argued that you should never leave the confines of your site; that you need not further stain your individuality with the makeup of others. I don’t know… I think connecting can do just the opposite too.
So, where does all this leave me? Well… I think I have some core goals:
I wanna get back to intensely exploring personal sites, like I was when I started.
I wanna blog, twice per month, while maintaining (what I consider) high-quality.
I wanna show IRL some more love.
I think the first 2 are pretty self-explanatory (lots of gratitude to the Lainchanners for, uh, “encouraging” me to blog). The last one comes from a trend I’ve seen on my digital travels: The notion that we’re wrong for just being here, online, I mean; in “cyberspace”. That this place is inherently broken and the only true salvation to be found is through abandoning it entirely. I think there’s something to that. Perhaps the world is out-of-balance, tangled in the wired. I ain’t goin’ nowhere but, sure stranger, I’ll touch some more grass.
‘Til next year, yo. ✌️
Contributors: Ray “brisray” Thomas֎, Matthew Graybosch֎, Matthew Prince֎, NovaVeles֎, Melon֎, orchids֎, Serial Experiments Lain֎, sizeof(cat)֎, CozyBroz֎, IlluminatiPirate֎, Sadness֎, Cheapskate֎, alexandra֎ & SURAGU֎