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The Internet Links

Why Personal Websites Matter 436

latif writes "Lately personal websites have fallen out of fashion. Some term them as vanity sites, and others are scared of privacy concerns. The article Why Personal Websites Matter discusses some reasons as to why they have to be embraced to stay competitive." I see the personal website as the virtual equivalent of the front of one's home, except that most virtual homes have large signs in the front yard that give a running play-by-play of the inhabitants. Just like one's home, it may be prone to vandalism, but it's far easier to make one's website be an expression of oneself, than to put up large signs outside!
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Why Personal Websites Matter

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  • by craigtay ( 638170 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:46AM (#7472571) Journal
    "Of course unorganized, lazy, and stupid people want to hide these qualities by not having a website" So that is why I have been having a hard time getting hired.. and here I thought it was the economy. Thank god all I have to do is create a snappy website!
    • Re:Oh and... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by botzi ( 673768 )
      "Of course unorganized, lazy, and stupid people want to hide these qualities by not having a website"

      Is the most ignorant and stupid phrase I've read this month. It's *almost* like saying "unorganized, lazy, and stupid people want to hide these qualities by <put random activity here>". Tech gusy like this one are one of the reasons programmers are tought by some people to be great jackasses....
      PS: And of course this is a definitely helpful argument when trying to convince someone of the advantage

    • by the uNF cola ( 657200 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @08:24AM (#7472895)
      Make sure to use lots of animated gifs... or so strongbad [homestarrunner.com] says.
  • hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nepheles ( 642829 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:49AM (#7472578) Homepage
    Personal websites are a good idea, in theory -- but, in practice, there are far too many useless, egotistical homepages. That was maybe acceptable in the infancy of the internet, but people are getting smarter now. Blogs are better because they give what people care about -- your opinions and knowledge -- without the self-advertising.
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wiggys ( 621350 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:58AM (#7472606)
      That was maybe acceptable in the infancy of the internet

      And its no less acceptable now. The net gives you the freedom to do what you like and say what you like, so if you want to publish a page on a Geoshitties website full of animated christmas tree decorations and talk about your pet rabbit then I think that's a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

        • by ciaran_o_riordan ( 662132 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @12:49PM (#7474604) Homepage
          Okay, it's been a good morning. My site usually gets 20 unique hits per day but in the 6 hours since I posted that comment, I've received 586 unique hits.

          All times are GMT:
          I posted my first comment at 10:46
          11:00 -> 12:00 : 51 hits
          12:00 -> 13:00 : 86 hits
          13:00 -> 14:00 : 172 hits
          14:00 -> 15:00 : 174 hits
          15:00 -> 16:00 : 64 hits
          16:00 -> 16:48 : 33 hits

          My comment started at score:2 because I have Excellent karma. It was quickly modded Flamebait, but this had no noticeble affect on hits. It was then modded repeatedly and waivered between score:2 and score:4, always "Funny". I think the surge of hits i received from 13:00 -> 15:00GMT was from America waking up and this this story being near the top of the slashdot front page. Hit are slowing now, I suppose fewer new people are reading the story. In total, my post was modded Funny at least 8 times, Overrated at least 4 times, and Flamebait at least 3 times.

          My confession is that the first "Anonymous Coward" that replied to my post was in fact me. After my post was modded flamebait, I thought I'd try social engineering. Could I make people think my post was funny simply by saying so? It appears the answer is yes. (or maybe my post really was funny.) Note that I don't have any ads on my page, so hits were not getting me cash or anything.

          All very interesting to me.
          • Getting modded up on slashdot is one of the first, best, easiest ways of advertising your website. When we first started out we got (percentage-wise) *huge* spikes whenever I got a comment modded up, easily 2-3x our normal traffic. Most would go, a few would stay.

            We're a lot bigger than that now, so the "slashdot bump" isn't all that noticeable anymore. Still, a highly recommended way at shameless self-promotion.
      • Re:hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @09:46AM (#7473221) Journal
        Hear hear. It's no worse than the thousands of amateur musicians who cut demo tapes on their four-tracks so they can play them in their car and maybe distribute a few copies to their friends. At least it keeps them off the streets, right?

        Frankly, I happen to think that a personal web page has rather more point than a personalized number plate, but you don't see those going out of fashion, do you? Who the heck cares that the Beemer in front of them is driven by someone whose initials are apparently JRP? Or they try to get clever and advertise, so you see they're an EYE DOC. Brilliant -- I wonder how many more eye docs there are in my vicinity and how on earth I'm supposed to find the one with the flash number plate on his Mercedes?

        At least a personal web site gives people the chance to hone their HTML skills (if they so desire), share their opinions (in a far more passive environment than if they're standing on a street corner yelling -- I can easily navigate away from an annoying web page), and maybe provide some obscure information that just might come up on a Google hit one day and make the day for someone searching for that obscure information. I've had this happen a few times -- the piece of information I was looking for was nowhere to be found except on someone's personal web page.

        If you think personal web pages are pointless, then ask yourself how many times some poor user's web page has bitten the big one after succumbing to the /. effect?
    • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AchmedHabib ( 696882 )
      give what people care about -- your opinions and knowledge
      I have yet to come across a blog of any value. Except once I found one with some compilation parameters for a program that I could use.
      Most people writing these things, thinks they have something interesting to say when most often, they do not.
      Reading about, to me, random people's thoughts and opinions are a complete waste of time, at most it can be amusing and if you have a closed mind, it may be able to open it to the world.

      However reading
      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Funny)

        by wiggys ( 621350 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:03AM (#7472618)
        Most people writing these things, thinks they have something interesting to say when most often, they do not.Reading about, to me, random people's thoughts and opinions are a complete waste of time

        ....unless its on Slashdot, right?

      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by paganizer ( 566360 ) <thegrove1@hotm a i l.com> on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:26AM (#7472673) Homepage Journal
        ..Something I've been having trouble with for several years now.
        I know it's PC to have a specialized label for every fricking thing under the sun, but...
        a Blog IS a personal website.
        You can call it whatever you want, I suppose, and it sure sounds, I suppose, much cooler, but calling a cat a flea transportation system doesn't change the fact that its a cat.

        BTW, Freenet is Fixed, but FROST is fried.
      • Re:hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

        by 16K Ram Pack ( 690082 ) <tim@almond.gmail@com> on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:30AM (#7472681) Homepage
        Just because you haven't doesn't mean they aren't good.

        The big thing is that people who write them concentrate their minds. One of the areas I must post some things on (when I get some more time) is local foods to my area. I buy a lot of locally produced, high quality foods (often organic) and often tell people about new discoveries. I want to be able to tell those people that they can just check my blog and get the latest from there (or use RSS).

      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by calethix ( 537786 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @09:21AM (#7473074) Homepage
        Well here's a little story...
        Just over a year ago, I got some kind of bug bite (or at least that's the assumption). A big red spot developed around it which kept growing so I went to the doctor. The doc gave me a shot and an assortment of pills to stop the itching/inflammation.
        So, what's that got to do with blogs? Well, later that night I got the hiccups. After maybe an hour, they went away. Then I woke up in the middle of the night with hiccups again and couldn't get rid of them. Since I couldn't sleep, I decided to do some googling and found another person talking about this side effect of the drug on their blog. My doctor of course thought I was a nut when I asked her about it even after I found a write up from the company that makes the drug listing hiccups as a possible side effect.
        This person's blog was just about their life and battle with some disease. While I wouldn't have found it all too exciting under normal circumstances, I appreciate the fact that I was able to get useful information from it when the need was there.

        As for my doctor, well I won't be going back there. I don't really care to have a doctor that blows me off when I tell them there's something wrong with me after they just shot me full of drugs.
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by supersam ( 466783 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:06AM (#7472626) Homepage
      but, in practice, there are far too many useless, egotistical homepages

      But those are just a reflection of the personality of the website's owner. It takes all kinds to make up the real world. Likewise, it takes all kinds of websites to make up the online world.

      The analogy of a website being the online home of a person is very valid. You'll see so many garishly decorated homes in real life... while a few tastefully done, organized and neat houses. That does not mean one should go around criticizing the unorganized, tackily decorated ones. Its a matter of personal taste. After all, thats why they're referred to as personal websites.

      Smartness has very little to do with taste!

      Blogs, on the other hand, are like standing on the porch and talking aloud... airing views... sharing news.
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jonbrewer ( 11894 ) * on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:13AM (#7472644) Homepage
      Blogs are better because they give what people care about -- your opinions and knowledge -- without the self-advertising.

      Nobody cares about your opinions. Well, maybe your mom, but really nobody else. Your friends only check your blog because you bother them about it.
      • Re:hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

        by denisdekat ( 577738 )
        Not only blog, you can have password portected photo galleries and mp3 folders for you and your firends. You can have geneology sites for your family members etc.... Lot's of good reasons to host your website, and to do so with savage web servers ;)
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DZign ( 200479 )
      That was maybe acceptable in the infancy of the internet

      In the beginning everyone just copied from each other and didn't know what else to put on there.. the net then wasn't really interesting or useful.. was just a way to put some documentation online. Some people started to make a homepage and others copied this.

      I too had a 'homepage' which said who I was and what I liked and even listed my cd collection.. (and of course the links to homepages of irc friends)(aaargh I can't believe I admit this)

      Worst

      • Anyone else have similar stories of content online long after its due time?

        Yes. I have a website on fortunecity that I made in highschool and I lost the password/username/email for it. I've asked them to take it down, hell, I even had a lawyer send them a letter, but they've just ignored me every time. Any ideas what I can do?
      • Only a few weeks ago i handed au$50 to ozemail to reset my password etc to an account I was given in 1994 when i started building webs. needless to say the content there was mostly shit*, and the html was all buggered, so I paid my money, patched the site, emlinated all those naive mailto links I thought were so dandy at the time and nuked anything that i have never ever been emailed about specifically, or which had long ago been moved to other servers. it took a day but i feel like i have just done a lon
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kinnell ( 607819 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:37AM (#7472698)
      Personal websites are a good idea, in theory -- but, in practice, there are far too many useless, egotistical homepages

      Say what you like, I got my first job after graduating simply because I had published my resume online and an employee of the company had found it in a web search. I had never heard of the company and would otherwise probably never made contact with them. Self advertising is not necessarily egotistical - we all do it sometimes.

    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by themusicgod1 ( 241799 ) <themusicgod1@zwo ... m minus language> on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:39AM (#7472702) Homepage Journal
      ever consider how many " useless, egotistical " people there are? and furthermore who the hell do you think you are to tell the rest of us what we should and should not do with our home computers connected to the internet? if you don't like personal websites theres an easy solution : don't go to them. if you wind up on one, either click the "back" part of your home browser or enter in some random url, like for example http://www.slashdot.org. i don't CARE what other people care about. the internet allows freedom of expresson, and freedom of thought, and to constrain this in the straightjacket of public morals and thought is self defeating. 'to care about what other people think of you is to be controlled by them'-voltaire
    • Re:hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lelnet ( 702245 ) <mbl.lelnet@com> on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:40AM (#7472706)
      A worthless personal homepage does not harm anything except the creative reputation of its creator.

      So I disagree with your assertion that there are "far too many" of them...except in the "in a perfect world, there wouldn't be any stupid people with nothing worthwhile to say" sense. "Far too many" implies that the presence of bad homepages somehow diminishes the rest of the net, or at least places some sort of measurable drain on a scarce resource. It doesn't.

      In my more hopeful moods, I sometimes take the risk of supposing that a lot of those uninteresting home pages are built by people as a learning exercise. (In reality it's certainly a small percentage of the total...on the other hand, what _good_ webmaster _didn't_ build a few uninteresting pages during their learning process?)
    • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by EverDense ( 575518 )
      Blogs are better because they give what people care about -- your opinions and knowledge -- without the self-advertising.

      WHAT?!

      Most blogs have entries like "I saw Timmy last night. We talked about, you know, that thing
      we did. I was really upset... bla bla fucking bla".

      IMHO Blogs are the almost sole domain of the self-absorbed and emotionally immature.

      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GeorgeH ( 5469 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @10:54AM (#7473677) Homepage Journal
        Speaking of self-absorbed, you seem to think that they are writing for you. The writer's opinions on Timmy are very important to that writer's circle of friends; that is the audience they are writing for.

        The amazing thing about weblogs and personal homepages is that it allows people to broadcast to groups of people. Usually that group tends to be the author's social group, and so if you don't care about what's going on in that group it'll come off as boring and self indulgent.

        You probably don't care about my recently born nephew, but when I post to my LiveJournal or family weblog about him it provides useful information and news to friends and family members. Luckily, I'm not writing it in hopes that EverDense on Slashdot will approve of what I have to say on the subject.
        • Re:hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Reapy ( 688651 )
          Thank you, you took the words right out of my mouth. I agree with you 100%. I created a personal site on my machine that allows myself, and my friends to post on it. We check it daily. It keeps us in touch. We are all in different states, but keep in touch through the board. We post pictures of things that happened, and make little stories or interesting urls. It's just our outlet to keep track of what is going on in our lives, and it matters to me, and my friends.

          That's my corner of the web, I bought the
        • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ambisinistral ( 594774 ) <ambisinistral&gmail,com> on Friday November 14, 2003 @12:04PM (#7474219) Homepage
          It is a shame that Everdense sits at +5 insightful while you, who described exactly what most blogs are about, get no moderation boost (not that karma really matters in the least).

          I don't write blogs, have read enough of them to know they are -- when viewed from the outside -- pretty vapid and silly sounding. However, most of them are really nothing more than open letters to their friends.

          To me that's good. At one time it looked like phones were going to kill the fine art of letter writing, blogs appear to be the infancy of a new style of letter.

    • and no one forces you to look at them, just don't click if you don't care.
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      but, in practice, there are far too many useless, egotistical homepages.

      that isn't the problem.... the problem is that ther are way too many personal webpages with at least 60-70 animated gif's, midi music on each page, and aniumated gif's to make the BLINK tag come back again..

      then we have those that cant code HTML so they use frontpage, and we have banners, page transition effects and everything else than causes a large number of viewers to puke from overload.

      BAD TASTE far outweighs any ego problem.
    • Personal websites are a good idea, in theory -- but, in practice, there are far too many useless, egotistical homepages. That was maybe acceptable in the infancy of the internet, but people are getting smarter now. Blogs are better because they give what people care about -- your opinions and knowledge -- without the self-advertising.

      A better way to put it is this:

      * Most people don't have anything new to say.
      * What most people put on their homepage has little value to you.

      It's a little arrogant and eg
    • If you're going to put up a website about yourself, of course it's going to be self-centered.

      The -thing- about personal websites is they aren't supposed to be geared towards any audience other than the author (and possibly the author's friends). If you come across a personal website you think is bland and boring, you're not the audience. If you find one you find amazingly interesting [kk.org], you might jive with the author.

      I think what you propose, while the ideal, is idealistic and probably a bit unrealistic

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:50AM (#7472580)
    Some term them as vanity sites, and others are scared of privacy concerns.
    Can you blame them? Now that people are getting fired over what they post in their blogs, I'd say that has a bit of a "chilling effect" on the topics many would be willing to discuss on their personal homepages. Or what about having a coworker discover your personal site, only to discern that you're [insert something the boss doesn't like]? If you can't talk about work, or if you're afraid of being fired when a coworker surfs by... Why bother with a homepage or blog at all?

    I don't know about you, but work is a large part of my life. Seems that the corporate control of the net has kicked in once again...

    --
    Rate Naked People [fuckmeter.com] (Not work-safe)
  • finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by JamesD_UK ( 721413 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:53AM (#7472589) Homepage
    Does this mean we'll start to see a reduction in the number of sites withe neon text on a black background, animated GIFs and "under construction" signs? It's a sad day for the 'net I tell you.
    • On the other hand we will see more popup/pop-under/flash ads everywhere, and spam pretending to be articles, advertisements pretending to be reviews. I am not sure which is better.
  • Another stick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OP_Boot ( 714046 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:55AM (#7472596)
    for prospective employers to beat you with. When a cv comes in, do a Google for the person's name, check them out, their hobbies, their faith, their habits..... Result: Interviewer knows more about the interviewee than the interviewee knows about the company.
    • Re:Another stick (Score:4, Insightful)

      by azzy ( 86427 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:12AM (#7472642) Journal
      Yes, because companies never have websites with their details on. Companies never operate/trade etc in public view, allowing opinions of them to be formed and perhaps shared/disseminated by mass media or even individuals on their 'blogs.
      • Re:Another stick (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wfberg ( 24378 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @07:27AM (#7472787)
        Yes, because companies never have websites with their details on. Companies never operate/trade etc in public view, allowing opinions of them to be formed and perhaps shared/disseminated by mass media or even individuals on their 'blogs.

        Yet, companies seem kind of reluctant to openly post "we support government X that randomly kills thousands at a whim" kind of information on their website, while personal websites might contain such shamefully incriminating nuggets as "I like Dilbert" or "I'm a X denomination Y believer".

        Did you know that in some countries, employers can't ask applicants to supply a picture with their resume? That's to prevent employees from only inviting white folks to interviews. Any idea where that came from? Because it happened.

        And yes, every slashdot post is potential incriminating material.. "He once said Foo about company Bar, and they're a client of ours".. "He made a Pointy Haired Boss joke!".. Etc. etc.

        So yes, I have a bland website. Just as bland as any corporation's website.
    • Re:Another stick (Score:2, Informative)

      by a!b!c! ( 137622 )

      for prospective employers to beat you with. When a cv comes in, do a Google for the person's name, check them out, their hobbies, their faith, their habits..... Result: Interviewer knows more about the interviewee than the interviewee knows about the company.

      Oh C'mon! I do the same thing back with my interviewer. I put his name into Google, and often get his work history. And then I put the companies name into Google and research as much as I can. Usually, I can learn more about the company then they ca

    • Re:Another stick (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kiwi_james ( 512638 )
      We've been recruiting recently and I always do a quick google search to see if I can find the person on the net.

      I think about 10 - 20% of the candidates that we've seen have had their own sites, and I can say that on the whole it doesn't help them at all.

      You can tell quite a bit about a person (particularly in the ubiqutous "My Pictures" section that every site seems to have) - and there have been a couple of candidates whose "extracuricular" activities have made me decide against interviewing them.

      For e
    • for prospective employers

      One more way for a prospective employee to be disqualified.

      Applying for a job is just about the most pointless, meaningless exercise in complete futility in all of business. It is the worst possible agreement. There is nothing of value for the employee beyond the current number of hours worked.

      There is more actual value in a one week rental of a late model Buick than the average job, and the average job probably couldn't pay for the rental either.

      And they said "go to school!
    • Not just their name, but any e-mail addresses and aliases they've used around the net. A geek's life is archived and indexed on the net.
    • If any random person (and your interviewer would count, unless they are Magnum PI) can locate you over the web, using nothing more than Google (or any other search engine), you have a lot more to worry about than whether or not your prospective employer knows too much about you. I'd be worrying about identity theft, for one, and just how much sensitive information about you, such as anything that would enable someone to single you out in a web search, is leaking from your hosting company. That is, of cour
    • I seriously doubt most HR droids will bother trying to find my homepage. I've gone into interviews where the people interviewing me had no idea what was in my resume, much less done a Google search on my old Usenet posts.
  • by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:55AM (#7472598) Journal
    I think personal websites are cool back in the day when... well, HTML isn't so complicated, and the average website is a few tables with a few pictures.

    now, if you would just look at the mountains of shit you'd have to sift through to make a site (try webmonkey.com), it's unreal! Just to make a simple but reasonblly respectable* site would need two years of university education if you never done it before.

    And what I mean by respectable is that - on average, websites have became much more feature rich, the graphics much better, the content more frequently updated, etc. That little website you used to use as a homepage that's hacked up in an afternoon looks by today's standards simply pathetic - and people know this. They fudge around with building a site and then find out, man this is a lot of work and not worth it.

    Besides, there are millions of places online where you can do exactly what you would have be doing on your own site anyway - I keep my journal on slashdot; I get a whole comment feedback system without having had to muck with CGI code / HTML / site design / debugging / server troubleshooting, and so on. Now, eventually I would like to port it to something myself just to have a little more control over it, but really, even if I think about it now, it's not worth the trouble - and keeping a blog online would be exactly the same thing I'd be doing if I had my website, so this simply removes a lot of the hassle.

    So, similarly as people don't all do the painting / maintenance of their home by themselves, website I think comes the same way - it's the tradeoff between convenience of something prepackaged (weblog sites, say) vs something custom, and the amount of effort needed for that little custom isn't always worthwhile in all cases.
    • "now, if you would just look at the mountains of shit you'd have to sift through to make a site (try webmonkey.com), it's unreal!"

      Who says you have to learn all those to make a respectable site? Simple HTML-based webpages can be good looking and effective. In fact I hate those websites with Flash, animated gif, and background music.

      It takes a creative mind and sense of good design in order to create a good website, not stupid tricks.

      • hmm... thought somebody would bring that up.

        What I mean is that - take for example, a simple javascript menu system that doesn't look like every other yahoo-storefront; everybody knows such a feature exists in uncountable websites on the web. So, if you are buliding a site, you'd probably think about putting one in there, and if you are looking at somebody's site, you'd feel kinda weird if they didn't have some something that catchy that happens onMouseOver.

        So, actually the STANDARD to which we judge webs
        • "So, actually the STANDARD to which we judge websites have gone up; a lot - and to make your site look comparable to all the others that have millions invested into them is a herculian task."

          Thanks and I'm glad you bring that up. Yes it takes a lot of work to make a website comparable to the others. I think it really depends on the intended audience, if the personal web site is to be viewed by friends and family only, perhaps you need not care whether it is comparable to the other web sites.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @07:50AM (#7472833) Homepage
      now, if you would just look at the mountains of shit you'd have to sift through to make a site (try webmonkey.com), it's unreal!

      oh cripes... you sound like the webdesigners at work why they HAVE to use frontpage and other WYSIWYG web tools...

      here's a tip for you.... you dont HAVE to use every single HTML tag. you can make a killer webpage that looks fantastic with HTML3.0 only.

      if your excuse to not make a page is because HTML has too many functions now, then you're just making excuses.

      there's a webdesigner at work that codes html by hand and sticks as close as possible to HTML 3.0 unless what he is trying to do needs CSS or 4.0 features. his pages look better than the dreamweaver drivers and are always 40-70% smaller so they load faster.
    • Just to make a simple but reasonblly respectable* site would need two years of university education if you never done it before.

      This is not necessarily true. In fact, some of the best personal websites I've bookmarked don't use tables, PHP, CGI or any of that. But I've bookmarked them because they've got really good content on them.

      I've been trying to come up with a format to create my own personal site for a while now, and have found that the single best site-style that I enjoy reading is just text wi
    • I think personal websites are cool back in the day when... well, HTML isn't so complicated, and the average website is a few tables with a few pictures.

      My web page has this big disclaimer at the top:
      Please excuse this page, it is really old, and a lot of the stuff here is pretty lame. Sue me, I am not a web developer.

      I use my personal web space for, well, personal stuff. I use it to post pictures, so I can email friends/family a URL instead of sending them a 15MB zip file of pictures. I get a few hits

  • by tintruder ( 578375 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:55AM (#7472600)
    Any time an individual does something to get attention, somebody makes fun of them.

    In the case of PWSs, obviously there is often vanity or some form of craziness, but equally often people use them to keep geographically distant relatives up to date on the growth of children etc., or on whatever activity might be of common interest.

    And even in the craziest of implementations, it could be reasonably said that at least it takes a bit more intelligence to design a web page than it does to plunk down $3000 for fancy wheels and tires for a car.

    Of course the guy with the car generally gains some ancillary benefits woefully unavailable to the guy who sits in his room coding HTML.

    "Damn, Paris, why do you have to stop doing that to answer your cell phone? Get back to work so I can finish my post on Slashdot!"

  • Blogs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zhenlin ( 722930 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:56AM (#7472603)
    Personal websites seem to be taking off - as blogs.

    Blogs are an interesting thing really - a published diary - in realtime.

    I don't really see them as important though. It is like my preference of topic-oriented discussion vs. person-oriented discussion - so it is natural for me to prefer a site dedicated to a certain topic.
  • by Guido del Confuso ( 80037 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @05:58AM (#7472607)
    I see the personal website as the virtual equivalent of the front of one's home, except that most virtual homes have large signs in the front yard that give a running play-by-play of the inhabitants.

    I see the personal website as kind of like a mountain of mashed potatoes, except with a set of Three Stooges action figures on the top, and except the potatoes are those weird blue kind so the whole thing looks freaky. And there's, like, some kind of cheerleading squad doing a dance all around, except that the virtual cheerleaders are really monkeys. Evil monkeys, that is, except that they really have hearts of gold once you get to know them! But it's far easier to just put up a website than build a mountain of mashed potatoes!
  • How can I tell people how wonderful I am if I do not have a personal web site? I think it is wrong to call them 'vanity sites' when I am simply relaying important information about how brilliant I am.
  • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:05AM (#7472620)
    I actually had a discussion about this with one of my friends awhile back. It seemed back around '97 or so you could make a web page, submit it to AltaVista, Infoseek, and HotBot and be almost certain of a steady trickle of hits. For example, my younger brother made a web page about all his pets, and then later added pictures of his wristwatch collection. It used to be just having matching keywords was enough to get your page noticed. Pretty much in the same period of time Google became popular, the hits on his site ground to a halt.

    Personal websites are at a disadvantage under Google's Pagerank system. A new page isn't going to have many other pages linking to it, and for the most part, personal webpages won't end up with many other pages linking to them unless the content is very popular. Google has created a kind of catch-22 situation... You have to already be popular to get a good Pageranking. The system is great for indexing an existing web of sites, but poor for allowing new sites to get exposure.

    I just remember running into personal webpages far more often back in the days when AltaVista, and Infoseek ruled, before the spam sites started abusing keywords. I'm sure Google didn't intend to turn the Internet into a popularity contest, but it would be interesting if they added user-adjustable features like Slashdot's moderation modifiers so you could give a higher (or lower) bias towards personal webpages.
    • by Decameron81 ( 628548 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @07:01AM (#7472736)
      "...personal webpages won't end up with many other pages linking to them unless the content is very popular."


      To be honest I must say that I thank them for this. When I use google, or any other search engine, the last thing I wish to find are personal websites with unpopular content. While creating sites and sharing them with the world is something everyone can do, making good sites with good content is not. I can only see an advantage with this system as a site now needs to struggle more to remain popular.

      Diego Rey
    • Pretty much in the same period of time Google became popular, the hits on his site ground to a halt.

      It's called survival of the fittest.
    • You have to already be popular to get a good Pageranking. The system is great for indexing an existing web of sites, but poor for allowing new sites to get exposure.

      I disagree. I think you need to have meaningful content in order to get a good PageRank. I've built up a website to 88,000 hits in 6 months by doing three things: writing content, writing lots of it, and making sure it stays on topic. By the next GoogleDance, my site was within the top 5 for many relevant queries. No advertising, no incoming

    • My personal website gets a fair number of hits, about 300 entries per day in the access log since I started on this host. How many entries per hit is not something I really know, but that's still a fair amount. Of course, it helps that I actually have things people want to look at on my site; pictures that at least some people find interesting and a bit of software that some people like. In all honesy, if your younger brother's page has info about his pets and some pictures of his watch collection, of cours
  • by __aafkqj3628 ( 596165 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:05AM (#7472623)
    I originally created my website to share my ideas and opinions on the world, but I realised that there is already too much out there (the blog-boom?) and I didn't need to be an endless source of flames.
    Now my site has taken a new edge to it, it no longer related to anybody but those who know me and live around me. Some people would concider my site to be of any marketable or even personal value anymore, but it doesn't matter. The only people who matter are the people who you want it to matter to (seriously, how many of you think that people in a fridge or road cones on buildings matter?).
  • ...when Bill Gates didn't say "content is king", or something like that.

    I'm reminded of this site [webpagesthatsuck.com] when I recall all the personal websites I've seen.

  • Personal Websites? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Metex ( 302736 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:08AM (#7472631) Homepage
    I think there is no more room on the net for "personal" websites. How many people here have run a blog or any other storehouse of personal info and at one point in time has it been used against you? For me it was about 6 times. Three with my school/university and 3 due to friends reading something and assuming it was them.

    I think the net is great for writing about your intrests and perhaps form a community around it such as CG, Legos or Evil Dead movie series. However having personal info on the web is usually extreamly dangerous and can at times be annoying. I remeber how I at one time had a collection of 50 poems on my site but took it down after a peer decided that half of it was about her and started to complain to me about how she though I was a dick for bitching at her indirectly.

    Now adays my old personal website is technicly amazing but I post no content on it. I guess live and learn.
  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CGP314 ( 672613 ) <CGP@noSPAM.ColinGregoryPalmer.net> on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:10AM (#7472636) Homepage
    PaulGraham.Com and Stallman.Org are websites of two well-known individuals in the computing industry. The two websites make very different statements about the respective individuals. Paul Graham's site is neat, and organized. Richard M. Stallman's site has lots of information and links related to his idealogies. Even the choice of the domain name reflects something about their personalities. Paul Graham has chosen a dot com, while Stallman prefers a dot org.

    Ummm. Exactaly what does the ending tell about the person? Is Stallman an entire organization? Is Graham a commercial operation? What does a dot net say about me [colingregorypalmer.net]?
  • by wiggys ( 621350 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:13AM (#7472645)
    Well the article mentions Paul Graham and Richard Stallman's personal websites... they obviously matter because they are huge icons in this industry, and they are also smart people with interesting ideas.

    But I think many people have missed the point of personal websites. Just because they're on the Word Wide Web it doesn't mean your audience should be everybody in the world. Many people set up websites intended to be viewed by a small group of people (such as family photo albums who nobody but family or close friends would be interested in).

    Also, how many people who design websites for a living today started off by knocking up a basic website? Most likely it was the equivalent of a "Hello World!" example, and the most readily available content was most likely all about you. Now, unless you were particularly eccentric its unlikely you ever intended this to be seen by thousands of people, but it was still a necessary stage in your learning process.

    So stop being website snobs - there's enough room on the net for everyone!

  • Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adrianbaugh ( 696007 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:15AM (#7472648) Homepage Journal
    Just as there were tedious people writing cruddy webpages there are tedious people writing drivel in their blogs. At least their godawful webpages tended not to clog up google so badly.
    A semi-static[0] personal web page, if written correctly, provides the best solution. It can include everything people might want to know about you, including your opinions and views; it's low-maintenance (you only need add articles every now and again, when there is important stuff that needs adding) and people are far more likely to read one or two thoughtful, well-written[1] articles written on such a site than the reams of semi-literate journal entries most blogs seem to consist of.

    As you might guess, I'm not the world's biggest blog fan ;-)

    [0] Updated, but only infrequently and with important stuff, not how you're pissed at rasterman today because enlightenment crashed on you.

    [1] If you only add an article every now and then you can afford to spend some time and write it well.

    • If you don't update your website frequently, the visitors won't go back for re-visit. It is not like they'll check the site everyday even though it is static 99% of the time.
  • by storem ( 117912 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:17AM (#7472654) Homepage

    The world is our village. People all over the world communicate with each other. How to better share views, information and the occasional picture with your (potential) friends than with a personal website. Personal websites show initiative and fill the need/right of every person to express himself/herself. Sure there are other means of doing that! And most people do! Not only nerds have personal websites. It is an online extention of your opinions, your way of living. When I meet someone in the real world, I tend to look for a personal website when I come home at night.

    On the issue that most personal websites suck (technically speaking), I can only say that I prefer old-fashioned HTML4/XHTML standard based website, above any corporate full-of-fancy-animations expensive marketing tool. Websites should be build to last. This is not accomplished using ever changing proprietary plug-ins, etc... You can make a *very* nice webpages without all this. (I'm one of those people who refuses to install the plug-ins I'm talking about.)

    Don't forget the Internet [was/is] all about sharing information!

    • On the issue that most personal websites suck (technically speaking), I can only say that I prefer old-fashioned HTML4/XHTML standard based website

      Another benefit of _strict_ standards that have to be adhered to is that you actually have to _think_ about what you want to put on the web. I personally don't care about bad HTML (although it's always a source for a quick laugh) and I know designing a webpage requires a lot of efford, esp. if you want it to look good. I don't pretend to be a decent webdesigne
  • Isn't having a slashdot journal enough?
  • Mac.com gets it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @06:49AM (#7472720) Homepage Journal
    Apple has recognized that all it's spiffy user apps are not complete without a distribution channel.
    Basically, they've recreated the homepage as an extension of your desktop, laptop or iPod.
    This also helps productivity. One of the projects I am a member of uses iCal synching between developers via a .mac account. Of all the features I've seen, this has to be the greatest and most usefull.

    The direct integration between the OS and your .mac account makes file updating easy, you don't even need an FTP client, it's quite seamless as the .mac account management interface is built into the OS.

    Ultimately, I would not be surprised to see .mac ripped off in MS's Longhorn, but that will be in 2006. Apple has 2 years to cram their service full of features to keep a leg up.

    <wishful_thinking>
    Perhaps an extension of the music store is in order to beeef up .mac as well as iPod/iTMS. Allowing users to compile playlists that are actually streamed by iTMS rather than the user account.

    Apple opened the door for industry wide licensing without getting sued, perhaps they can now convince them that streaming already purchased music as a form of fair use on the users behalf can work too.
    The major difference being that iTMS/Apple would act as the middle man, there by providing oversite to the system as a whole, something Kazaa/Morpheus et al fail to do.
    </wishful_thinking>
  • by shadowcabbit ( 466253 ) * <cx&thefurryone,net> on Friday November 14, 2003 @07:31AM (#7472796) Journal
    ...to paraphrase.

    The vast majority of personal websites suck. This is a fact. The ones that don't suck are really only useful to a handful of people.

    When was the last time you wandered through Google results for "personal website" [google.com]? If I had to venture a guess, not until you clicked through to that link. Yet when was the last time you visited someone's personal website? Again, this is only a guess, but probably within the last twenty-four to forty-eight hours. This is because the content on that site was, at some point, useful to you-- even if you were the one who created it.

    I use my personal website (here [thefurryone.net], if you dare) primarily as a collection of links that I use daily and also as a way to get my PHP and HTML work out there, on exhibit. I have, probably, ten consistent viewers world-wide. Three of them are my mom, dad, and sister. And this is fine for me! Because I know that the content on my site (with the exception of maybe one or two areas explicitly for display) is of relevance to absolutely nobody.

    People here are talking about how in the old days of the Internet (which can't be that damned old if I remember them), personal websites contained a diverse variety of information on just about anything, and that these websites formed the backbone of how people did research; some scientist in Alameda's paper on nuclear vessels, posted on his website, was just as valuable as, say, a fan-page devoted to Evangelion by some kid from Buffalo. Nowadays, everything has a website. You can get any information you want about anything straight from the manufacturer, and personal sites be damned; they're only opinions.

    Both points are valid. In the "old days" the information you got was still people's opinions, which meant you had to find three or four correlating opinions before you could really judge. Now, personal websites allow us to cut through marketing and P.R. bullcrap, but we still need three or four correlating opinions before we can really judge.

    I'm straying from my point. Does anyone here follow anime? Stupid question, right? How do you learn about new releases in Japan? Sure, if you know Japanese, you can check out TV Tokyo [tv-tokyo.co.jp] or TBS [tbs.co.jp]'s websites and get the info from them. But odds are you don't (and this is not a slander against those of you who do-- statistically, however, you're in the minority, OK?). So how would you know about releases like (and I'm dating myself here, as the only reference I have handy is a copy of Newtype that's about three months old*) Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Scrapped Princess, or Sora no Stellvia? Personal sites do allow "niche" sectors like anime (ha ha) and, I dunno, latex doll painters a way to spread information. The personal site is the next step in "word of mouth".

    (* Newtype USA is only a year old. Hardly enough basis to say that anime is mainstream now; but that's not what's at issue here. You could just as easily do a google search on latex doll painters and find out more than you ever wanted to know. The point is that Newtype is only one source of information. The internet, and personal websites, provide about fifty zillion other points of view.)

    Just to state it clearly here: Less need for personal websites != no need for personal websites.
  • A Writer Writes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stereoroid ( 234317 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @08:14AM (#7472875) Homepage Journal
    That's a canonical rule handed out to writers: it doesn't have to be relevant, organized, or even any goodat all, but it is important that you write.

    In the 18 or so months that I've been keeping a blog, I've written more than 100,000 words on everything, from TV and album reviews, to political scandals and "popular science".

    The point, in my case, is not really the content: it's the visible improvement in my writing skills that is being translated to other offline projects. I work in a building housing people from all across Europe, and I get English spelling, grammar and usage queries several times a day, every day. Who was it who said "the point of a journey is not to arrive"? (I know it was Neil Peart, but he was quoting someone else, I think.) I write to learn more about writing, so I have a sharp pen if I see a sword coming my way!

  • what if they die (Score:2, Insightful)

    by basingwerk ( 521105 )
    What is weird is visiting the web site of someone who has died. Often, their ISP leaves their sites up for years later. It seems strange and sad to learn about their family, pets, sporting activities and plans when you know how things turned out in the end. I believe people often think they will live longer than they do. And I think of the time wasted putting these sites together when they could have been spending the time enjoying themselves in the pub! Nobody ever said on there death bed 'gosh, I wish I'd
  • Andy Warhol... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwillems ( 266506 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @09:27AM (#7473115) Homepage
    ..said we could all be famous for 15 minutes.

    In the web era that translates to: we can all be famous for 15 people.

    Indeed, that's about as many as look at my personal web site (www.mvw.net), and I am happy with that. I get to hone my web design and sysadmin skills, my mother gets to see what I am up to, and a few people like to engage in debate which is fine.

    And the most important : old friends can find me! My name comes up very early in Google as a result of the personal web sites. Web sites are a bit like business cards in that respect - people don't look at them in a lot of detail but without them you're lost.

    Michael

  • by Quietti ( 257725 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @09:52AM (#7473265) Journal
    On one hand, I admire the boldness of some people who go right ahead and discuss at lenght their life as a [goth, bisexual, etc.] and post samples of their own [erotica, nudes, contreversial opinions on various issues, etc.] and who, surprise, don't seem to run into any problem resulting from this, because a few people actually do respect or fear those who are that bold and upfront about everything.

    On the other hand, I cannot help but notice how running into the wrong person [politically correct employer, boy/girlfriend, football coach, bad cop, etc.] with excellent Googling skills, can easily manage to ruin your life completely, by marginalizing you out of existence, to the extent that nobody wants to hire or date you and where even your old highschool pals fake not recognizing you on the street, because whatever you posted on your website went against the grain.

    This leaves open the question of whether freedom of speech and democracy really mean anything anymore.

    The game used to be played along this famous French writer's motto that "I might vehemently disagree with what you are saying, but I'll die to preserve your right to say it." Likewise, former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau once told his son (quoted at the funeral) to "Never attack someone personally. You can publicly attack their ideas, but never touch their dignity as a human being."

    Unfortunately, in a world where anything you say can and will be used against you at some point, before you have been accused of anything, even whenever you have not broken any law, simply because people fear the stigma of guilt by association, it appears that we have reached a point where those old standards of respect are no longer true.

    This being said, lately, I've been asking myself why I even bother maintaining a diminutive website:

    I haven't created much in terms of music, photography or ever writings in ages, which already puts a big question mark over whatever content might qualify for publication. Then, already, I've had a few employers actually mention having a problem with me stating boldly on my About My CV... page that "I am quite competent in Windows 3.11/95/98/NT/2000 administration and in Office 95/97/2000 usage, but flatly refuse to use any Microsoft product."

    [of course, in a world where the majority thinks that getting a job should be the only priority anyone ever had, and where companies can fire anyone for the most laughable excuses, standing up for your beleifs and values, by refusing to work in certain fields or within a certain framework, has become suicidal, but that's another issue entirely - then again, it says a lot about how little freedom capitalism actually offers: choose freedom or money, but you cannot have both unless what you think is whatever the Ministry of Disinformation has rubber-stamped]

    Given the combined current lack of content and problem in stating preferences for anything non-mainstream, I'm starting to think that the only thing left to put on a website is a politically bleached version of my CV and a generic photo to recycle with job applications and such. Then again, might as well upload the damn thing to Monster's CV repository and start using throw-away e-mail accounts for anything, at which point nobody needs an ISP or personal website anymore. *sigh*

    Damn! I beleive I just created a second dot-com doomsday scenario... Sorry to all startups who will close shop as a result! :P

  • by coldtone ( 98189 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @09:55AM (#7473284)
    I've had my own website for a few years now. I loved posting little stories about myself and keeping in touch with some old friends back home. I was pretty comfortable posting just about anything because I was certain that only a few people where reading the site, and that I knew who they where.

    So one day I put up a post where I reminisced about my high school days (Over 15 Years ago), and I mentioned my first crush and how she shot me down. Mentioning her by first name only.

    A few hours later I got an e-mail. From Her!. Asking me to remove the post from my website. 15 years, after my last contact with her and I get an email from her almost immediately after submitting a post with her first name. I guess the thought of her name associated with mine is to much to bear.

    Anyways, now the only thing on my site is the local temperature.
  • Hahahah (Score:3, Funny)

    by wcbrown ( 184278 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @09:57AM (#7473299) Homepage
    Favorite line from the article: "It is much harder to fool people with a website." If [wired.com] only [voy.com] that [metafilter.com] were [snopes.com] true [about.com].
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @11:24AM (#7473900) Homepage Journal
    I see the personal website as the virtual equivalent of the front of one's home, except that most virtual homes have large signs in the front yard that give a running play-by-play of the inhabitants. Just like one's home, it may be prone to vandalism, but it's far easier to make one's website be an expression of oneself, than to put up large signs outside!

    Congradulations, CowboyNeal. You win the first anual Autopr0n.com torturued Analogy award. To wit, WTF?
  • websites (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sdibb ( 630075 ) on Friday November 14, 2003 @12:33PM (#7474437)
    I actually like personal websites for what some of they usually eventually turn into -- detailed information about one subject.

    If someone's personal homepage mentions a certain hobby in detail, chances are other people will pick up on it and visit that website to see someone else's experience.

    I love the homegrown websites about hobbies and cool stuff. It's the corporate websites that have choked the life out of the Internet by making giant sites that cover everything mildly, so I can never find the real content -- from the people!

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN

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