I like this round-up of Tumblr-to-Dreamwidth migration guides (for those times when Mastodon’s 500 characters just aren’t enough).
To reiterate the point I and others have repeatedly made, if you don’t own your online presence you’re just [one] malprogrammed bot or one bogus DMCA notice away from being shut down. It doesn’t matter if your content is on WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Flickr, Youtube, etc, if it is someone else’s platform then you’re still at risk.
Nate Hoffelder on platforms.
While I (obviously) do agree with this, I will note “owning your own platform” is not actually a panacea in the sense that, online, we’re always beholden to someone else, whether it’s our website host, datacenter operator, CDN provider, domain registrar, or whatever. These relationships are complex. I won’t host a website in the US any more, for example, after EA slapped my old videogame fan blog with a DMCA over Star Wars: The Old Republic screenshots. I could’ve counter-claimed, but doing so would’ve forced me to renounce any potential protection under Australian law (DMCA notices are deceptively vicious if you’re not American). It was such a trivial fucking thing, and I nearly lost my entire website because of it.
On the other hand, my old host did lose a customer. So… y’know. There’s that.
That being said: hosting all your content with a massive third-party aggregation company that considers you to be a product, not a customer? Yeah, nah. Not a great idea, huh.
Jason Kottke’s retrospective of twenty years of blogging.
I’m not quite up to twenty years yet—My First Blog was a LiveJournal, creation date 14 September 1999—although I was making non-blog websites by ’98. Thankfully most of these have been lost to the gods of bitrot; unlike Kottke, I’ve gone through periods where I’ve wiped my old sites and started fresh, mostly because, like him, there’s a lot of shit in my old archives1 I look back now on an cringe over. The person I am at thirty-four is not the person I was at twenty-four… or fifteen, for that matter.
Because I was fifteen when I made my first post on LiveJournal and, of all things, I still remember doing it; I was sitting at my computer in the living room of my ‘rents old house, off school for the day because I’d bargained Mum out of having to attend the athletics carnival if I vacuumed the house. My First Blog Post was explaining this situation, as well as confessing I had not, in fact, vacuumed the house because I was too busy tooling around with LiveJournal (which I was sure would “never take off”).
As mentioned, pretty much all those old websites have been lost to the ravages of time, although I will admit I did get nostalgic and try and have a look for them on archive.org anyway. This was the earliest I could find, circa 2001 (minus all graphics, which from memory featured… Gackt, maybe?):
Things to note:
- The “articles” are tutorials on how to integrate the then very basic Blogger-based weblog into a custom domain using PHP includes, which was basically how people made websites Back In The Day.2
- The hosting section was how people got cool websites in the pre-social media days. It was kind of like sharehousing but, like. On the internet. And with no-one but the “homeowner” paying any rent…
- Not pictured: the obligatory cliques, dolls/adoptables, and webrings section. You know… I actually miss webrings. We should really bring those back.
- Reading those list of links reminds me that one of the individuals turned out to be involved in one of those weird, infamous fandom kin-cult things…
- The early 00s website design aesthetic (which I was… never very good at) has really, really not dated well, based on my archive.org-rabbit-hole survey of other websites from this era. That being said, I do sort of miss the experimental messiness of it all, especially when compared to the prefab template sterility of the Tumblr/Twitter/Facebook dashboards. On the other other hand: 8pt justified Verdana. Never. Again.3
Mostly, though, we were all just so young. Yikes.
- Yes, I still have them; they’ll be in MySQL dumps somewhere on one of my computer’s HDDs, if I really wanted to torture myself digging them up. ^
- Or, if you were Rich™ you bought a Movable Type licence. ^
- It also just… does not look the same on modern monitors, which are both bigger and have, like, font anti-aliasing. ^
Facebook is an absolutely fine repository for the names of people I’ve met in my life, and for photos I have of those people, and it would be a nice memorial to my life when I’m dead. But it has no business being a publisher, and they don’t even like to acknowledge that that’s what they are. Facebook hides behind all of this machinery, when what they’re doing is very human. Recommending things for people is a personal act, and there are people who are good at it. There are critics. There are blogs. It’s not beneficial to us to turn content recommendations over to an algorithm, especially one that’s been optimized for garbage.
Matt Klinman on human interactions.
A look at the strange, lost community of Petz hackers.
For the record, cheating in The Sims was my introduction to hacking hex files. I couldn’t find a trainer or cheat that would alter social relationships,1 so I wrote down, in order, the values for the current like/love values of the sim I wanted to edit, converted those to hex, opened the save file in a text editor, and found where that sequence appeared. Then I edited it. I corrupted a few files, but mostly it worked like a charm.
- And oh the irony that tn The Sims, as in real life, I suck at social interactions. ^