Sometimes, I wonder whether arts & ego is the last personal website on the net. Then I think, don’t be so daft, it can’t be, and I go and look for others. But I can’t find them.

image: flower

I searched google repeatedly for personal websites, but all I found was lots of companies advertising services to promote personal home pages. Not wishing to be rude, but if those companies’ services actually worked, there would have been some personal websites returned in the result.

If I search some of the other, older systems for personal home pages, I get nowhere. Webring is long dead, corrupted by misuse and failure. DMOZ was shamefully abandoned by its owners, following a long period of underinvestment. Stumble Upon was turned from a good idea into packaging.

This all means I do not know how to find other peoples’ personal home pages.

It feels as though the dominant companies on the web, the information monopolies, have snaffled or suppressed any hint of individuality, turning what was supposed to be a triumph of self–expression into a banal slumber of marketing. Now, admittedly, most of the stuff that was easy to find on the early web would have been improved dramatically by being suffocated into banal slumber, but the good and unique stuff was lost too. Too much is gone.

Part of the problem is that it is difficult to create and maintain a website, so many people who might once have given it a go don’t bother now. There are many easy alternatives. Why learn how to code in HTML when you can get a wordpress blog, or an instagram photographic gallery account, or ample space on utoob for deeply dreary television, etc., all for free? If you want to put everything in the same place, then there’s faceboot, linked off, and no doubt others. Coding directly to the web may give you total control, but it’s complex skillful work, and there are so many easy alternatives….

Worse, there are all kinds of leeches to bleed the unwary. If you like wordpress, you can build your own: then find the time you used to spend creating content, as and when you wished, is spent instead patching and repairing at the insistence and the timing of the wordpress cuckoo. That’s another reason why is a static site: I tried drupal and I almost drowned in site–breaking obligatory patches before I rowed back. There wasn’t anything especially wrong with drupal, indeed wordpress had a worse reputation at the time, it’s just that I want to spend what spare time I have available, when it is available, working on content, not fixing someone else’s software.

So all this convinces me that most of the early personal web sites will long since have died. Most of those left will be corpses that the internet’s undertakers have forgotten to bury.

But I have hope. DMOZ might have died, but it might phoenix into curlie. Stumble Upon is back under the control of its original creator. Duck Duck Go might only return failed marketing companies when searched for personal websites, but it returns real results amongst the junk when searching for personal home pages. I will find like–minded site creators yet!