As far back as I can remember, it has been a “cool” thing to have your own personal homepage. A site where anybody can drop by and get to know a little more about you. At one point having your own personal website was a unique thing but eventually the novelty wore off. While it’s still important to have a place where people can go to learn about you, filling your site with “widgets” and other random trinkets is more about self expression instead of providing valuable insight into your personality.
Fred Wilson thinks that “we need to move to a model where the content is all in the same flow.” He uses Tumblr as an example but the first thing that popped into my head was FriendFeed. The reality is that most peoples’ blogs and personal websites are only interesting to their family and close friends and that’s the extent of it.
Recently though, sites like Facebook have made it easier to connect and keep people up to date without the thoughts expressed through a personal journal. Snippets of our thought processes pop-up on our friends’ home pages thanks to status updates. That’s ultimately all we want to know when it comes to written content from most of our connections. For instance, most of my friends don’t read any of my blogs even though I have thousands of blog posts.
They simply want to see the pictures of things I’ve been up to and information about my recent activities. It’s the voyeur in all of us but most of us will never go so far as to reading every single article that our friends’ have written. I believe that self expression is important but I’m not so sure that it needs to come in the form of an incredible looking website. We can share our creativity through images whether they are photographs or paintings.
We can also express our creativity through the music we create, listen to and share. Personal web pages have been about creativity and self expression but they haven’t been as focused on connecting and ultimately connecting is the most powerful component of the internet. While widgets enable creativity and personal expression I think that there are already plenty of tools that enable creative expression. It’s more about connecting that expression through a continuous stream of content.
As such, I think the average person no longer needs a “personal homepage” which exists on a separate domain. If you are really in need of a domain name, throw a CNAME on it and have it display your FriendFeed. While this is somewhat of a tangent from Fred Wilson’s suggestion that we need to move past widgets, I think it means the same thing.
Ultimately we are moving beyond the standard personal homepage and moving toward streams of our digital identity. Do you think there is still a need for a “personal homepage”?