Website as Avatar

Dear Friends,

Your blog is your avatar, not in the one-dimensional sense of a profile pic, but in the original sense of a god made flesh in terrestrial form, in the sense of Ultima IV, where your own ethics determined the outcome by presenting you dilemma’s with short and longterm consequences attached to your choices. Your blog is your avatar, a full representation of yourself, made manifest online in HTML texts. Whether you want it to be or not. Time makes it unavoidable.

Ton Zijlstra 

He’s not wrong.

Ton’s post is a response to one Om Malik wrote titled Write like a human. The main takeaway is this: 

Be real. Write like a person. That is how your words will be unique because only you can be you.

Your writing should reflect your thinking. You don’t need to become someone else. You have to look no further than inwards to find your words and your writing style.

Your writing should have the same compassion you have when you speak and communicate with those you love and respect. Compassion always translates into civility. It shows that you care.

Which brings me to my humble site. I started “posting” in 1991 at university. By “posting” I mean status updates on my finger .plan file. Sadly I never backed it up, but little of my digital life back then still exists. With some CompuServe and other cobweb-y bits in the interim, my first real web site was on the @HOME service one of the Detroit Metro cable providers offered before they and their successor were gobbled up by Komcast. I moved to DreamHost in 2004 (!) and have been there ever since — for a while with some 10 different web sites all dedicated to a different interest of mine.

Last year I made an ill-advised upgrade to this site and lost most of the old posts. Well, they still exist in a backup. But restoring that backup has proved problematic. Next rainy weekend, other things permitting, maybe I’ll restore those old posts.

All this to say that I strongly recommend everyone have their own web presence that is a reflection of themselves, their avatar, as Ton said. My site is like someone who entered the Witness Protection program or is an undercover spy. I kind of like that, but its not a good representation of me now.



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About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.

Be nice with what you write.