As a freshman in high school, in the year of our lord 2002, I made a website called “Jason’s Site.” While a website named after myself and devoted to updates about my own life was unspeakably vain for the time, it was also quite forward looking: The site has a news feed, an “about me” page, and an email mailing list for people to receive updates. I intended for it to be funded by reader donations. It had a section for Flash videos and photos, a guestbook, and a “friends” page that was literally a list of my friends. It had an ill-advised but nonetheless prescient “hot or not” section that featured photos of my friends and acquaintances and predated both Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s original idea for the social network, called “FaceMash.”
I updated the site regularly and obsessively for about three months, and then never returned to it. The site was embarrassing then and is embarrassing now, but abandoning it was a terrible mistake.
… Looking back, it’s not clear to me why we were all so excited to get a Facebook. We were already all on the same social networks. But someone–a popular kid, probably–decided that we were going to use Facebook, and so we all used Facebook.
… Facebook isn’t really all that much better or more convenient than having your own website, or sending emails or chats. But for some reason, Facebook (and Instagram) are where we post now.
… When I think about my own Facebook use, I think often about that first website I made, and how that site served the exact same purpose then that Facebook does now. My original sin wasn’t making a Facebook account, it was abandoning my own website that I controlled (the original site was hosted on Tripod, but if I had to do it all over again, I’d pay for web hosting.) All these years later, maybe it’s time to update Jason’s Site.
I’m moving more and more away from the ‘book. I think most of my Japanese friends are on Line and/or Apple’s Messages. Instagram is still big.
Anyway, I’m still using and improving my use of IndieWeb concepts for my on-line properties. And I kept my site, wisely as it turns out.