First of all, I’ll state the bleedin’ obvious: an identity website is a website that expresses an identity! What’s perhaps not so obvious is that there’s no better means of expression online, or so I believe.

Everyone needs to express things, of course, but most do so only in the real. We express love to their loved ones. We express secrets to our cats. We express strange dreams in song to the soap in the shower. We all express ourselves, our lives, our problems, our delights, in the real, in our own way: it’s part of being human.

image: mutilated text

Most people don’t bother projecting their identity online. They feel no expressive connection with the virtual. They prefer an identity expressed only in the real, if they express at all. I think that’s absolutely fine.

Some of us, though, like to express a little more: maybe in the arts, maybe online, maybe by writing angry letters in crayon to the local newspaper. Many will use the virtual world just for communication, which in itself expresses their preferences and goals. Others will create an online presence to fulfil professional needs. Most will restrict themselves to the hothouse inanities of the social web. We online, we all have our own ways of expressing our identities.

A personal website is, I believe, the most interesting and powerful mechanism for online expression. A webmeister has complete control of their virtual presence on a website. They’s not subject to the constant pressures to drown ability, to erase the discomfort of otherness, etc., that the popular social websites unfortunately, and I suspect intentionally, generate.

You define your own standards of expression on your website: you don’t have to limit what you say and how you say it, you don’t have to conform to the styles and restraints of the social web, the only rules you have to obey are those of mark up and law. Of course, if you go off into the wilds of bizarre design and potty ideas, as I have done, few will come avisiting for any time at all, but that’s the webmeister’s choice, and that’s how it should be. A personal website is an expression of identity, an identity website intentionally so.

I’m a poet, I’m a photographer, I’m a webmeister, I’m an opinionated git; I express myself, my life, my irritation with the nasty piece of dirt that won’t come out from under my fingernail, in my poetry, in my photography, in my blog, all here on arts & ego. This is my idea of an identity website. I haven’t manufactured propaganda, I’ve thrown together a crotchety, contradictory, truthful, terrible, rich and ridiculous website of ideas, arts, ego, errors, opinions, rants, and mumblings. I am not an imaginary manicured sugarpuff, I am real, I am what you can read here, if you care to do so.

Incidentally, I’m not sure where I picked the term ‘identity website’ up. I had thought it came from the indieweb, but a search there revealed nothing. Until that search, I’d not heard of the South African business propagandising the term.

Anyway, welcome to arts & ego, my identity website.