The Return Of Personal Websites

In the early days of the web, creating a personal website was the only way to share your life online. Personal websites served as digital business cards, resumés, photo albums, and of course “weblogs.”

But when services like Xanga, MySpace, and Facebook jumped on the scene, we started posting things there instead. We were already accustomed to sharing things online, but because our friends were using these new social networks, we joined them.

Well, at some point over the course of the last decade, social media became… complicated. Toxic, even.

In a quest for effective monetization, these platforms that we’ve poured our lives into are mishandling our data and manipulating our behavior in questionable ways.

In the age of #DeleteFacebook, perhaps it’s time for personal websites to make a comeback.

Jason Koebler of Motherboard makes a great point:

When I think about my own Facebook use, I think often about that first website I made, and how that site served the exact same purpose then that Facebook does now. My original sin wasn’t making a Facebook account, it was abandoning my own website that I controlled…

I’ve been maintaining this website sporadically since 2007, and it may soon reclaim its status as my primary online home.

Thinking About Attention

CGP Grey posted an excellent video on Friday articulating something we’ve likely all noticed in ourselves and in those around us: a spiraling inability to focus our attention on things that matter.

The “attention economy” of today’s world rewards platforms that are engineered to hijack your attention. As Grey says in the video, “Who among us has not opened an app, looked around, seen everything new, closed it, then immediately reopened to check again?”

That’s troubling, and all too relatable.

If you find yourself struggling to focus, or even just to be alone with your own thoughts, it may be time for a break from Internet consumption.

Be The First

So many founders want to be the next Steve Jobs.

So many startups want to be the next Facebook.

Every VC is hunting for the next Uber.

Are these worthy aspirations?

Why are we so fixated on following in someone else’s path, rather than carving our own?

Instead of trying to be the next anything, focus on being the first you.