An Archive of Embarassment

Feb 27th, 2009

One of the problems with having grown up on-line is that you have your history packaged away and archived across the internet. If you know what took look for on Google Groups, you can find comments I made almost twelve years ago back in 1997. I was thirteen at the time, naive, and at times overly keen. There are incidents recorded on there which are still embarrassing for me, mistakes and misunderstandings which resulted in my accidental insulting of others and making myself come across a complete edjit in the process. I still want to apologise about one incident in particular, as technical problems prevented me from doing so properly at the time. At least all that is hidden away though, and isn’t something that will get turfed up with a simple Google. This website however is.

I first set up this website back in 1998, run from an old, long dead, Geocities account. Since then it has moved through several hosts, and has undergone redesigns in which I have committed every known sin of web design. However, while the layout has changed, most of the content has remained.

In 2002 I overhauled the site contents, establishing many of the sections that exist today; only the blog is a more recent addition, appearing first on Blogspot in the summer of 2004. At this point my website was already four years old, and contained a lot of content which no longer interested me, and in some cases frankly embarrassed me. I was however loath to abandon any of it, and it was instead filed away in a section called ‘the Warehouse.’

While the site has been redesigned since then, I haven’t done another overhaul of the contents. Many sections have been abandoned completely, whereas others have undergone hideous surgical procedures as I have attempted to account for vast changes in my life, without making fundamental changes to content. What is worse, is the site completely lacks date stamps, and ten year old pieces of art or writing sit as though part of a showcase, rather than a museum. Anyone stumbling on the bulk of my site now would confuse the ramblings of a fifteen year old me, for my twenty-four year old self; I’d like to think I had changes a bit since then.

Only the blog is current. New years resolutions are still being kept, and I’m keeping it updated, but more importantly timestamps keep old and new separate. Sure, there are still posts dated 2002, and even older archive material pulled together from the depths of my hard drive, but it is clearly labelled as such. I may be opening myself up to scrutiny which may make others uncomfortable, but at least it is obvious what people are looking at.

Which brings me to my main point. I need another overhaul, and I need to make use of the blog in the process. I have already started moving my content across to WordPress, filing it in currently inaccessible pages until such time as I can update the system to come. However even this is likely temporary, as eventually I imagine almost everything will be blog posts. Static pages will act only as anchors and indexes, capturing the redirects from the old structure. Meanwhile redundant content will be shifted elsewhere, photos moved to facebook and flickr, and badly dated playlists to last.fm. Categories will be tweaked to reflect what I’m actually taking about, rather than what I planned to talk about five years ago when I first started this blog, and I’ll look at ensuring that the most interesting content is flagged up, and brought to the forefront.

This restructuring will ensure that nothing gets lost, but that everything is presented in context. Old games will no longer be something I’m trying to push, but a reflection of me in the time I wrote them, but still available for anyone who may fish to play them. Meanwhile other information will be travelling, taking advantage of a web that is far more social than the one which existed back in 1998, 2002, or even 2004. The recently added Lifestream is a reflection of this, a me that is decentralised and spread over countless different websites, and I hope to begin to better reflect this in this website.

Now if only facebook would open up the API to allow the import of comments from my notes. The various plugins which scrub the HTML don’t seem to work.

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