written by owen on 2016-Jan-21.
This morning my nephew asked me what my website really is and what purpose does it serve since its not making any money. Over the years having a website has had its perks. You will never know what its like to create something and try to keep it working forever unless you have a child or a website. You really don't need a website to do anything nowadays because you have all these other forms of social media which are easier to access in the mobile economy and give the same "feeling". Social media has a one size fits all approach and makes us all think we are artists inside waiting to blossom but in reality we are all just building numbers in a RPG. Some people are archivists.
Either-way I will try to outline some practical reasons why I still keep my website running despite all the distractions that have come up over the years. Anything you want to do at a certain level is going to be hard - this is a certainty.
One of the main reasons I started my website was branding. Branding is key in todays economy, more money is spend on 30 second advertisements than the salaries of employees in large companies. Added to that getting a job is pretty difficult and making a good app is even harder than getting a job - #real #talk. Fresh out of high school I needed as much stuff as possible to "pad" my resume so having a website was a easy way to add content to a resume - that was 15 years ago. Nowadays one could do the same with a free facepage but I'm not sure what the youngsters are using for branding nowadays. Social media activity discourages personal branding because a main part of their business is paid advertising - selling other people's brands to the masses of consumers. If you are lucky you could be one of the few who break out but most spend all their time reading link bait articles and watching an endless supply of insular videos in a echo chamber.
I have been programming forever, since high school. A lot of my experience has been garnered from having a test bed for which to let other people see my work and also a place where I could get all the comment spam in the world. I was never a designer but I learned several tricks over the years by constantly experimenting with the trends of the day (56k warning). Programming is about patience, dedication and being able to look back to where you have been and plot a course to where you want to be.
My English literature teacher had always encouraged me to write and it became a very important part of my existence to "produce" more than I "consume". My spelling may not be all that and I often ramble on continuously about topics I am passionate about - mostly software programming and a little bit of meta physical poetry. These articles take a considerably long time for me to write mainly because I have ensure that I avoid looking like a self-righteous lunatic.
Publish or Perish is the constant struggle between spending my time doing something I "like to do" versus doing something that "earns money". I used to post alot on social media until I realized that it is a waste of time to contribute to a ever increasing interstellar black hole of content that never wants to let you do other things. Surely social media is easy and efficient but at the end of the day your influence is limited to how much money/time you are willing to give up in order to gain more followers in great numbers. I created a post on my website and gave myself one million likes and I still do not care.
A huge Archive of your own stuff
Another advantage is that a website gives you a reference point for own your opinions. Unlike social media which seems hell bent on pushing more and more information and entertainment in front of your eyes subduing your own personality. A website is a growing collection of YOU as opposed to the things you like/consume. I can go back to an article I wrote 10 years ago and do some introspection as what my thought process would like back then - try to do that on social media. Apparently social media actively discourages introspection and self analysis. Maybe people really do not want to see themselves as they truly are/were?
I often ask questions such as what are your favorite songs of the year and many people cannot even remember what exactly they liked just last year. It is as if the constant flood of entertainment has made people numb to the passage of time. Social media seems to not want people to be cool themselves but would rather they be cool by association like apples in a basket. Maybe no one really needs to have their own stuff anymore? I am not sure.
Distractions, distractions. Social media is a numbers game. Everything is a shifting sea of information and bias. You can never really tell who is selling what or promoting something or the other. A website provides me a certain level of focus so that I avoid being fickle or flip floppy - changing frequently, especially as regards one's loyalties or affections. Anything I start/post must be able to stand the test of time. I am not going to get up one day and switch my whole website to Angular because one article says its the best thing since slice bread. Information has to weighed against its current benefit versus future potential. Its hard to focus when your screen is full of flashing lights. Things get thrown online with no rhyme or reason or backstory, its either entertainment or advertisements for something to come in the future that may or may not affect the price of bread. Oh look at this! This is cool! This is new! This is better than the thing you have now! Read it! Watch it! Your life will be changed! Send it to 6 of your friends. Social media is the email chain letter from the 90s.
I noticed that when people have a situation of 2 competing things they will choose the one they can afford and say the other is not worth the cost. It seems as if social media is forcing people into a corner where they have to chose to either like something or regulate it to worthlessness. There is no in between, gray area in anything, you keep promoting the things you like and avoiding the things you don't like until you can't tell why you liked the thing in the first place. Too much of one thing I guess.
Websites certainly are not for every one. Most people are fine with a twitter feed or posting memes and quotes on the facepage. I myself have 2 twitter accounts @newogame and @softnewsmag which I check on ever so often. The money spent on hosting a website could be better spend on a Netflix subscription or new Minecraft themes. Eitherway if you are alive you have to spend your time doing something, so you might as well do something that other people can see instead of spending all your time watching other people's advertisements.