Help. My identity has been spread too thin.

While I’ve been surfing the Internet since before the web (archie, gopher, and ytalk were my friends in 1990) it wasn’t until 1996 that I created my first website at http://www.stanford.edu/~dewpoint/ (gone now) in anticipation of becoming a freshman at Stanford. On campus, I soon moved to hosting it on my own server in my dorm room, so “my URL” became http://barista.stanford.edu/ – that was my home for another year most notably featuring the first layman’s level description of MP3 and the MP3 Audio Consortium, home to a set of early-days MP3 webmasters who were intent on spreading the word about the power of MP3 to transform artist-listener relations. (We weren’t wrong.)

It wasn’t until 1998 that I realized I was going to need a permanent, personal URL to identify me and I set up David.Weekly.org. (A squatter has been sitting on Weekly.com for the last decade and refuses to sell the domain to me – also, David Weekley Homes owns DavidWeekly.com. Boo!) For the next seven years, I posted pretty regularly, adding poetry, pictures, links, posts, wine reviews, books I was planning on reading, a half-completed book on MP3 I wrote, and the first independent acoustic analysis of the Windows Media Audio format. I wrote my own scripts to handle the comments, the photo gallery, the books and wine applications, and the templating and navigation.

But then something kind of funny happened; around 2005 or so I found myself starting to contribute content to other sites than d.w.o. It felt good to add a photo to flickr and be participating in a conversation about pictures there, to be part of a shared dialogue instead of a monologue. I started adding profiles in different places, first Friendster, then Ryze, Tribe, MySpace, Orkut, OkCupid, LinkedIn, Facebook, TheFunded, ASmallWorld…my status updates went on AIM, into Facebook, and in my GMail — my identity has been getting spread thin. I stopped blogging, because who was going to see it if I just wrote it on d.w.o?

But in a certain sense, this was inevitable and a result of me eating my own philosophical dogfood. If I’m not the best picture gallery coder or host in the world, shouldn’t I let someone else do it? I even stopped hosting my own email in 2004 (I now use Gmail, which filters over 31,000 spam messages a month for me).

I’m now determined to attempt to see if I can cure my digital schizophrenia by
tying together these different communities and resources via a singular location. This is going to take a little fancy technology to bring in information from all these sources to reside in one place, but it should also encourage me to get back to writing (on a WordPress blog, naturally) again.

So here’s step one of gluing everything back together again.

Advertisements