Personal websites

Over the last 15 years, there's been a migration of content on the Internet from smaller, distributed Web sites, to centralized social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. If there's one good thing about these platforms, it's that it is friction-free publishing and anyone online can have a voice in seconds, but these platforms have certain design constraints that make them less ideal as the bottleneck for the Internet's variety of content types.

Take for example Twitter threads. Twitter threads are an awful workaround to force long-form text content into a container that wasn't designed to accommodate it by shoving paragraphs of text down a pipe a sentence or two at a time. To get any kind of sane reading experience out of Twitter threads, you need to rely on tools like Threadreader that exist specifically to piece those threads together into a coherent Web page. People will occasionally mess up their threading and the tool can't even piece it back together properly. It's awful and inelegant.

So why not skip the headache of breaking your paragraphs down into tweets and go straight for what people want anyway: paragraphs on a clean, readable Web page! Hell, while you're there, you might as well add links to external resources and embed images, videos, or other content inline when it makes sense, or provide navigation to other things you've done that people could be interested in, instead of fishing for clout with memes and tacking on an awkward "check out my soundcloud" reply to the the thread.

Twitter and Facebook were never supposed to become the entire Internet. They were supposed to be a supplemental sidechannel for communication driven by interests (Twitter) and personal relationships (Facebook). Somewhere along the way, we got addicted to the convenience of these platforms and traditional Internet publishing just trailed off. It's time to restore the Internet to how it used to be. We don't need to wait for these platforms to die or to give us permission to make websites again. We can just be stubborn and do it ourselves.


POSSE is an abbreviation that stands for publish on your own site, syndicate elsewhere and it should be the guiding light for as much of your creative work as possible. (Note: this term also gets used to describe automated cross-posting from your site, which I don't necessarily recommend!)

This approach can be prohibitive for certain types of content. Videos, for example, are still quite expensive to host, especially if something becomes unexpectedly viral, so it's only natural that a lot of video winds up on YouTube which is absolutely free to host on. Open source software development frequently also revolves around centralized software forges like GitHub which offer additional tools like continuous integration, issue trackers, and other things that are not necessarily easy to set up or cheap enough for everyone to host themselves.

However, if you primarily produce text and images, here are two rules of thumb you should follow:

Recommended tools and resources

See also