Reading an article from 1999 caused me to consider how not owning your own content leads to a loss of more than just the content itself.
“In order to expand audience awareness and redefine Possible, there have to be places where these new capabilities exist; and lacking a client willing to take the chance that the audience will be equipped to do so, we need to provide the environment so the audience equips itself and creates that demand to use newer standards. I propose, therefore, that the environment already exists and it lives in the collective personal sites that don’t give a damn about return on investment.”
– Lance Arthur Redefining Possible January 22, 1999
Personal sites, our blogs, these were once our playgrounds. My own site was the first place I added rollover images, CSS for fonts, tried out a “table free” design. I wrote about the web, surrounded by my own experiments with the web. We all did, and it was only in reading those words from 1999 that I realised there was more to owning your own content than simply not publishing your words elsewhere.
As we move our code to CodePen, our writing to Medium, our photographs to Instagram we don’t just run the risk of losing that content and the associated metadata if those services vanish. We also lose our own place to experiment and add personality to that content, in the context of our own home on the web.
I had already decided to bring my content back home in 2017, but I’d also like to think about this idea of using my own site to better demonstrate and play with the new technologies I write about. It’s more than just the words.