When discussing with my pal, Tim, about how to update our other website, our project on sexual racism, I realised that my own website badly needed updating. First of all, while I loved the animation on the front door, I don’t live in the same apartment anymore. And I wanted a way of combining my blog (on blogger) with my website, as I’d heard for years that if you don’t have ‘dynamic content’, then there’s no reason for anyone to visit your page after the first time. But then I realised that the whole world of websites has changed since I first put mine up. It’s funny to think back to that time.
You had a section which described who you were, a few pages with your main activities, a list of links that you liked, and a list of links to your friends. My webpage was exactly the same as everyone else’s.
I used it to promote my books, mainly, but I also put up photo galleries. I’ve always been a photographer, and this was an easy and fun way to share photos with friends. At least I thought it was easy, except that for the early galleries, I had to upload all the photos into a particular format and choose how many would be on the screen. I had to make sure that the thumbnails matched up to the bigger photos, and putting in captions was usually far too much trouble.
That example of photos shows how out-of-date my website became – as I basically moved over to Facebook for communication with friends and acquaintances – the photo albums all moved there and have been so much easier to put up and share!
In the meantime, my nephew and niece are now little kids, and none of us have time to take and post photos of them like I did in their first years of life.
Personal websites really aren’t very necessary these days. People have blogs and twitter accounts these days, and bother much less with a formal website. They’re usually made up of endless streams of thought, photos and videos, and I’ve noticed that sometimes people don’t even introduce themselves – pages and pages of someone’s life and writings but no more than a basic few sentences about themselves and probably not a photo. This anonymity is countered by those who use youtube, twitter and more to get their faces in the public eye.
At one time, a website was the best way to establish a public presence. No longer. At one time, it was a great way to share with families and friends. No longer.
Even the way we access information has changed. I’d carefully created a flowchart of webpages, so that people could start at the front page, and then move onto my other activities – writing and music – but also get back to the “main menu”. But mostly these days if people are searching for information, they google it – or they get referred from somewhere else. So, I don’t have to create a section of restaurant reviews on my website. What’s likely is that someone wanting to know about a particular restaurant will simply find it through a web search, or a link from somewhere else.
So, here I am, in the bright new world of WordPress (the program that will not supply my website’s new architecture), and the new world of 2011 where I’ll try to update my website, get rid of old parts that don’t work or are no longer relevant, combine my blog with my website, and see what happens… before this model becomes outdated in a few years’ time.