23 July 2012

Focusing on the Positives: Why I Have My Own Website

This post title may seem obvious to readers here, but the data shows that the vast majority of US Internet users do not have their own website or understand why they would want one. Why is that?

Fundamentally, I find that people aren't motivated by not having negative things (e.g., "don't lose your data"). People are motivated by directly positive results (e.g., "have keepsakes in the future"). I think we've made a mistake by promoting the independent web as a way to prevent negative outcomes. We need to focus on the positives.

I challenged the attendees of IndieWebCamp to restate their goals as positive arguments: What good things do you get by owning your content online? We came up with a helpful list, but I think it would be much stronger to have individuals highlight their own personal reasons for self-publishing.

To that end, here are three positive reasons why I write primarily on my own site:

1. Having a home

When I want you to know something, I'm going to talk about it here. This is where you'll be able to find me over time and space. This is my home. People in the neighborhood used to just drop by to see folks and catch up; this site serves the same purpose for me. It's something we can depend on so we can always be in contact.

2. Expressing myself

This blog is a creative outlet for me. I designed how the pages look and choose the content in each post. If the site is ugly or hard to read it's my fault, but I'm proud of it anyways. I like that readers get a feeling from my site that's unique to me. I like that my content and how it's conveyed are a single package that I've created myself.

3. Internet citizenship

We call it the "web" because our sites all interconnect with links. Hyperlinking is what gives the Internet its richness. Following links has helped me learn so much. So I want to give back. I want to cite others and be cited. I want to contribute to the web's complexity. My own site lets me do that.


I'd like to see some friends talk about positive reasons that they, too, publish from their own site.

So tag, you're it: Tantek, Ryan, and Dan.

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