nothing compares

10 December 2003

A long time ago, a boy named Phoenix had a website. It was called Millennium's Child. It was pretty much what people nowadays call a blog, kind of an online personal diary open for my friends and anyone who happened upon it to read. Phoenix was very happy with his little website, and it grew. He added more stuff, some poetry, some pictures, some some information about myself, you know how it is.

I put it all together and made myself a real website, with multiple pages. I was in college, sitting up late at the computer when no one else was awake and finishing up some html to get just the right effect on the page I was working on, searching for images and pictures to decorate the pages with. Admittedly, I was happy with the growth of my page, and I was happy that people said they read it from time to time, but I wanted more. I wanted to have a popular website like many of my net peers out there did, communities that revolved around them and people who regularly read the things they had to say. I wanted all of that, I wanted to be a part of that. So I got involved, I started talking to people, posting comments in their journals, signing guestbooks and linking myself, things like that-totally innocent ways to spread the word about yourself. But I wasn't happy. I wasn't getting the hits I wanted. I wanted more.

I took a long, hard look at everything. Became almost stagnant for a while with my website, not updating often because I told myself I was planning a serious redesign and update. It was true, I was planning one, but it took me long enough to actually do it. I asked myself a very important question:

Who am I doing all of this for?

I rolled it around in my mind for a while. My desire for popularity, my desire to be an internet attraction, to have my thoughts and my poetry and my feelings affirmed had driven me to design websites that, while artistic, weren't very accessable and had a myriad of content that people may or may not find interesting, and far more than I could update regularly. And in the process of letting it go to waste, I effectively had a mirror into my own past, seeing what I had done and periodically paging through the whole thing seeing what I had to say and how I had to say it.

In the end, the answer, of course, is that I'm doing all of this for myself. It's catharsis. Self-expression. It's about me and me saying what I need or want to say, getting it out, making myself heard. In the end, it's about me. That doesn't mean I can't consider everyone else along the way. When I did the massive redesign I planned, I made the site a bit more accessable, easier to browse, less meaningless content, more meaningful content, and more regular updates. I turned it into something I really wanted it to be.

This is why some kids irk me, the kids who post on messageboards about how they really want people to come see their site, they want "feedback," meaning they really want people to frequent their sites, they don't want to participate in another community, they really just want an instant following. I never went that way, I didn't even think to. In the end, any following I might have came because I linked to people I read, I particpate in their discussions, I read what they have to say. I realized that begging people to link me or read me just on the merit that I had a site only gets you so far, and then not returning the favor isn't really appreciated. I know plenty of people with everything from full-fledged websites to livejournal accounts who understand this fact, so why are there so many others who see fit to link themselves on a bbs and then cry about it when they come back weeks later after ignoring the community they advertised to and no one comments or visits their site?

The web is a community in the truest sense of the word: you get out of it as much as you put in, and you get a lot farther when you try to form real relationships with people and make friends as opposed to piggybacking off of people. Just a little peeve of mine, don't mind me.