First made available on Victoria.dev.
The web that raised me was a digital playground in the truest sense. It was made up of HTML experiments frankensteined together by people still figuring it all out.
The beauty of not completely knowing what you’re doing is a lack of premature judgement. Without a standard to rise to, you’re free to go sideways. Explore. Try things that don’t work, without any expectation they will work. An open world with a beginner’s mindset.
The web that raised me was a little broken. Things didn’t always display the way they were supposed to. That too is part of the beauty. It was just broken enough to make you think for yourself.
1991 was the year of the individual on the web, the first year any layperson could open a web browser and access the new hypermedia dimension. There were no go-to, search-suggested, centralized websites. There were newsgroups. You had what you made and what your meatspace contacts sent you. In 2021, I think we need a return to that level of individualism. We need to make 2021 the year of the independent web.
That’s not to say I think the massive monopolistic platforms are going anywhere. Twitter, Facebook, mainstream “news” media sites – they’re all a kind of utility now, like plumbing and electricity. They’ll find their place in regulation and history. But they are not your website.
Your website is the one you create. Where the content, top-to-bottom, is yours alone to shape and present as you please. Your website is your place of self-expression, without follower counts or statistics to game. Your website is for creation, not reaction.
It’s all yours, but it doesn’t have to seem lonely. Your site can interact with the entire online world through syndication and protocols made possible by this thing we call the Internet. See:
IndieWeb for POSSE, an abbreviation for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere
twtxt instances for a decentralized timeline experience
Your website is your beginning point. The one source of truth for your identity online, from which you can generate and distribute disposable copies to any platform you please. This is what it means to truly own your content. And on the Internet, your content is you.
This is my website. When I first created it, I did so for myself. I had no expectation of visitors. I just knew I’d rather have these thoughts and things I’ve learned here, out here, made indelible in the folds of the public Internet, instead of on some dark corner of my machine, to be lost forever once I am.
Make your own website. You’ll grow your own sense of well-deserved accomplishment and contribute to your independence on the web. You’ll learn by doing, by scratching your own itch.
Learn about web technologies. Use them as you would if you were a child holding a pencil or paintbrush for the first time. Experiment, with no expectations other than discovering what you can do to make it delight you.
These sites and articles inspired this post and helped me implement webmentions!