A vision for a personal website
I want a space where I can explore ideas. To be able to link them together, developing my ideas over time.
I want it to be a public space — one where I can think in public, and share ideas with others. Yet, I also want to restrict access to some areas (e.g. business documents)
I want it to be a place where visitors can comment and contribute. To engage — give feedback, add their thoughts as they arise.
I want to have parts that are messy and exploratory — and others that are more polished and complete. I want it to feel welcoming to whatever thoughts I have — raw or refined. After all, the raw is what leads to the refined.
I want to write about different subjects and interests — rather than limiting to a specific topic/genre. Yet, I want to create cohesive experience — one where if someone visits in relation to a certain area (e.g. pharmacy), they see mainly ideas related to that area.
How might this look?
I imagine three core components:
- About page
A general landing page. About me, at a glance.
This is the “Who What When Where Why” stuff.
I also like the idea of having a “Next, Now and Lately” page here to capture where my focus/attention is at any given time.
Using the “Garden and the Stream” metaphor from Michael Caulfield, the blog is the stream.
It’s the reverse-chronological feed of new posts and updates. The stuff as it happens. The cutting edge. The ephemeral and fleeting.
Continuing the methaphor, the wiki is the garden. The “web as topography”. The stable and evolving landscape of ideas. Rather than being centered around “now and lately”, the garden is time-independant. Instead, it centers around the ideas themselves and how they fit together.
Ideas start on the blog (or in Roam — the private graph).
The blog should be pretty messy and informal. Optimized for prolific expression, rather than polish and reader-friendliness. The content of the blog is the stream-of-consciousness – the thoughts as they occur.
The content from the blog should populate the garden as ideas mature and fit into the greater framework of ideas.
Ideally, I’d like the— such that I could use wiki-links in blog posts to create or reference garden posts.
Distribution and Interaction
Ideas are best when shared. Personal websites are great n’ all — but making it social feels pretty key.
Ways of doing that:
- Using Twitter in parallel
- Distributing via an email newletter
- RSS feeds
- Providing opportunities for interaction for visitors
- Probably many more.
It’s striking to me how many/most websites don’t have a way for people to engage with the content. If I’m to imagine the experience a few years down the track — I’d like to have a rich catalogue of writing with lost of interactivity built into the system to optimize for new ideas and conversation.
Eventually, I’d like to have it setup such that people could comment at the page- or paragraph- level of a post, and a place where all comments could be centralized. Then when someone made a new comment, I could be notified somehow.
Eventually (soon), I’d like to be able to support multi-media content on the website. Audio has my attention in particular — but I’d like the be able to host short videos too.
For audio, I’d like to be able to record and post a feed of conversations (kinda like an informal podcast). Good example here. I wonder if an RSS of that example page is generated, and if listeners could choose to listen on an audio-player of their choice.
For video, I can see that being mostly short explainers. I’ll likely dabble into video once I figure out how to create private “member” areas on a domain. Once I figure that out, I’ll likely start creating videos for staff training at my workplace.
The main idea
At the core of the vision — is the ability to engage with ideas in a way that feels natural and fun. I want to optimize for flow-state expression and interaction. I want to embrace the sloppiness of new/bidding ideas — iterate them across time, eventually distilling them in a way that can provide value to others.
I want to play with media and format — to learn the ways of the internet. To become familiar with and proficient in using various tooling.
To be able to express ideas across a variety of subjects, while maintaining a cohesive feel.
And ultimately, to foster a habit of exploration and expression.