So what exactly am I doing here? What do I hope to accomplish with this site and newly re-minted digital presence?
There is something about this venture that reminds me of my very first experiences of the web- namely, the fun of setting up my own personal site (Geocities, baby!) back in 1995. Even in those early days, it was really hard to land prime web real estate or monikers with a common name like “Sam Lee.” But yet, the experience still felt rather unique- akin to imprinting your hand on the sands of a digital beach for the first time. Wild explorations of blinking lights, crazy fonts, and cheesy designs aside- that feeling of discovery and exploration of new space was intoxicating. Not to keep waxing poetic, but those of us on the web at that stage were pioneers. There were no true rules or conventions to follow- just space.
To put things in perspective, the concept of a blog wasn’t even all that cemented back during my first go-round with web development. I remember having to hack solutions for the most basic functions (i.e. cobbling together a discussion board for comments, setting up a chat room, etc). Beyond the technical, many of my friends also ribbed and mocked me for posting my thoughts online and inviting discussion. These types of activities would of course become more socially acceptable over time, and online community tools and sites (like IRC, ICQ, AOL, AsianAvenue, Friendster, Xanga, etc) shortly followed.
Each community and platform was unique; while many did not last, the interactions they fostered were real. And no matter how many online communities rise and shutter their walls, I will continue to try and embrace them all. Why? Each experience shapes the way I interact with other digital citizens and the world- and dare I say, influences my life.
But sometime in 2003 I just completely lost the desire to maintain my own site; over the last ten years, I have merely sprinkled digital content all over the place (blogs, social networks, etc). Through it all, I just didn’t feel the urge to create and maintain a personal site again- until now… why?
Above all, this site still represents a digital frontier. Much of the physical world had already been discovered by the time I was born, so the web represents the most open and boundless space to build, experiment, and connect. While web development itself is far more refined and accessible today, that feeling of discovery and exploration of new space is still intoxicating. I am convinced that the digital world is not flat, and eager to set sail…
So nearing my 20th web anniversary, I find myself here again- searching for that magic and looking to turn a new page in my life.