Make your own website

I’ve been maintaining websites in some form for a long time now, and here’s why maybe you should at least think about it.

You get almost total creative control.

The more content that gets generated inside the walled gardens of Twitter, Instagram, etc. the less weirdness, beauty and creativity we get on the web. When you post on someone else’s service, what you wanted to say is forced into a tiny rectangle and you might find that rectange getting smaller and more restrictive as times goes on.

It’ll last if you take care of it.

If you create your web page using the fundamental technologies, HTML and CSS, and resist the urge to jump onto the ever-turning wheel of more advanced technologies, you’ll have something that in ten years from now you can be pretty sure you’ll be able to slap onto a server and show people. The oft-referenced Space Jam website is a great example.

It doesn’t really even have to be a website.

You know what’s easier than writing HTML? Writing plain text. You know what web servers are perfectly happy to serve? A plain text web site.

Hard things are often worth it.

Learning to develop and host a website is harder than registering a Twitter account and merrily posting away, but you develop a useful skill and a valuable creative outlet. A lot of people liken creating a personal website to gardening. You carefully water, prune, and dote, and what you get is something you can cherish.

Hosting a website isn’t that difficult.

Again, it’s harder than using a third party service, but there are plenty of places to put your site for free or cheap:

It doesn’t really matter if nobody reads it.

Sure, one good thing about the walled gardens is that they’re relatively convenient when it comes to showing your stuff to other people in the garden. However, someone seeing your post isn’t really a human connection. Someone hitting like on your post isn’t really a human connection.

I’ve come to favour fewer, deeper interactions over a larger number of shallower ones, even if those likes do feel good. I’m not writing this to make myself out as the wise person who’s transcended the shallowness of social media. I’m writing it because it takes a deliberate effort for me not to fall into those traps. There’s some effort to recreate “likes” in the IndieWeb, but at the moment I view the lack of likes as more of a feature than a bug.

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