Posted in Meta on August 1, 2023 by foreverliketh.is ‐ 5 min read

Image Details & Source green bell pepper on brown soil by imso gabriel on Unsplash

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.

My People

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.

Greener Grass

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.

Laying Bricks

So, where does all this leave me? Well… I think I have some core goals:

  1. I wanna get back to intensely exploring personal sites, like I was when I started.

  2. I wanna blog, twice per month, while maintaining (what I consider) high-quality.

  3. 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

This blog post is part of Agora Road Travelogue - Aug [#1 & #2]. A project attempting to encourage individuals to both write and exercise ownership over their content.

Comments Section