There are a few reasons why I am starting this website/blog.
Opening doors to self-expression
The ways one can express themselves in the modern age are increasingly limited. Most social media sites nowadays emphasize short, visual content with a strong emphasis on feedback systems such as likes and comments.1
Starting a basic, independent blog allows you to escape from all of that and gives you more freedom to write what you actually want to write.
Many of the first fifteen U.S. presidents could probably have walked down the street without being recognized by the average citizen, yet all these men would have been quickly known by their written words. However, the reverse is true today. The names of presidents or even famous preachers, lawyers, and scientists call up visual images, typically television images, but few, if any, of their words come to mind. The few that do almost exclusively consist of carefully chosen soundbites. -Neil Postman
What I post on Instagram reflects the 1 per cent of my life when I have encountered something visually interesting, yet what I write here is what I go through daily: ideas that I have developed and refined over countless hours.
As the content is written in markdown and largely textual, it could easily be preserved and parsed. I could switch up the architecture that supports this website should it become outdated or unsupported.
With social media sites, attempts to preserve or parse content are nightmarish. Social media sites come and go. To be at the whim of those companies would seem unwise.
Decoupling the internet
Right now, the “internet” to a majority of the population is just an assortment of a few sites. Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon etc, and I don’t think that this is what the internet should be. Everybody should have an individual presence on it. Most of these “big” sites also recommend content with a practically unknowable algorithm. By retreating to basic technologies such as saving bookmarks of blogs you follow, you could bypass algorithms to a minor but certain degree.
This website is open-source as it’s currently hosted by GitHub pages. It’s free and has quite a lot of documentation. I highly recommend making your first website this way. You could check out the technologies this website uses here.
I should also mention that while Wix / Squarespace / WordPress are options for starting a webpage, I believe I’ll just be stuck in the same cycle but one level higher. To my knowledge, it’s basically impossible to transfer the website you made with proprietary software anywhere else. While GitHub pages still have their limitations, I believe it’s still not a bad starter for hosting your first website.
Recently, I’ve finally decided to buy a domain for this website, tobylam.xyz. I used Epik and it only cost me .99 USD per year and 8.5 USD per year for subsequent years. Fortunately, GitHub pages could still host the website for free, so the costs incurred by purchasing a domain is really quite minimal. 2
Considering how much better tobylam.xyz sounds compared to tsunyinlam.github.io, it’s definitely worth considering.
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