Over the years I've been a part of many sites, communities and social media on the web. This is the rationale for building my own site, a home on the internet that is completely my own...
You may notice that this site is a work in progress; that some parts are a little weird or load slowly, or just don't work on your device. One reason for this is that I'm learning how to do this myself, digging into the code and having a rummage. I'm learning how to use a Git repository! My previous sites weren't quite doing it for me. They were too rigid in their design. They were owned by others. They had to be paid for regularly, in money or content or data.
I was tired of giving my work to instagram; of diminishing returns, of seeing adverts more than the posts from my friends. My portfolio site was too clean and neat; it couldn't handle a blog with posts, the monthly subscription kept increasing. I have filled a free Wordpress site whilst studying for an MA in Fine Art, but got used to blogging about my working process, my inspiration, and want to continue. There are a multitude of sites I've loved and forgotten when the next new thing with a concatenated name comes along - Flickr, Tumblr, even a Myspace somewhere in the mists of time.
And now I have a little time to work on something quirky just for me, to try, to mess it up (sometimes completely)! I have now broken and remade this site more times than I can remember. I'm not completely alone here, I'm using an open source Grav template to build my webhome on. This helps with blog posts and background stuff, though it still has quite a learning curve for me.
I was inspired by the essay "My website is a shifting house next to a river of knowledge. What could yours be?" by Laurel Schwulst. Do I want my website to be a puddle? Of course I do!
There is also no state of “completeness” to a website, like a puddle, since they’re ephemeral by nature. Sometimes they can be very big and reflective. Despite their temporal nature, I’ve even seen some creatures thrive in puddles. Meanwhile, some smaller puddles may only last a day.
I want to have space to experiment! At some point there might be parts for collaborative drawing, and live-streamed exhibitions. This is just the first deluge of previous work, a getting to know the space. Website design has changed so much in the past 20 years of its proliferation, and I have a lot of catching up to do.
Another exponent for the personal website is Matthias Ott, with his article "Into the personal-website-verse". I love these thoughts on creating our own web of links to the homes of others. (Yes, I remember the Blogroll!) Definitely on my to-do list.
We can help stop the web being taken over by private companies by making our own DIY spaces, creating links to each other, and playing together. Watch out for the puddles!