Escaping from the platform, and Discovering my own world

Youra Hong 09/14/2023

As a website maker – I prefer 'website maker' to 'web developer' to call myself – website (and also making and visiting websites) has always been my concern, and this interest goes back to when my dad put me on his lap and played Stevie Wonder songs on YouTube in front of my computer. This moment is when I first confirmed with my own eyes that it was a website. After that, I was raised as a normal Internet Kid, who plays games on the website, chats with friends, and even makes my own virtual room on the website.

The reason why I like to make my own website rather than just simply using Instagram, Blogger, VSCO, or Tumblr (still I am using a couple of them), is to get away from the platform. Currently, apps are taking over too many roles in our smartphones, and most of the websites are web versions of the apps. There was no need for a 'website only'. The website is losing ground from various platforms. For instance, Instagram is one of the apps that has a very unfriendly attitude toward web browsers. When you click on a website in a bio-link, it doesn't go to a Safari browser, it connects to your own browser. I suspect this is a feature that contains a vicious desire to stay on their app more.

Now we are surrounded by too many platforms, therefore I felt an urge to make my own website to be free from the platform. Unlike Instagram and VSCO, I can't post my status on the website right away, but nevertheless, I believe it has the advantage of creating a website. First of all, I bought the domain, but I agonized a lot about WHAT to post on this website. I'm not even the one who has to promote myself by posting a portfolio and CV on a web page. As I write a podium about my diary and daily life, there are already VSCO and Instagram. However, it was a great job to build a website out of the temptation of a gigantic social media platform.

As the writer mentions, "Be careful what you post online because it’ll be there forever", which is the sentence that parents always emphasize. This sentence is half correct and half wrong. Websites are characterized by disappearing immediately when owners stop paying for web hosting and domains. That's why websites can all be volatile at any moment. (When Elon Musk renamed a brand from Twitter to X, think of a happening that we couldn't see all the quoted tweets because of the domain name change. Contents including Tweets are a precarious existence that can all disappear with just one domain, even though they are simply there.)

Besides making my own website, I could truly sympathize with the statement.

But the thrill of making and discovering sites is not the same. The analogue organicism of finding something is no longer there — these were sites you “stumbled upon.”

Platform-based social media puts us in a frame. For example, Instagram must post pictures, and Twitter must tweet within 140 characters. People are being tamed in the platform's own way, being loyal to the platform's policies. In other words, the platform uniformizes the user. Following their algorithm, new accounts are recommended to my feed, and I only passively judge whether or not I like the account that the algorithm recommended, but I rarely have the experience of coming forward and discovering any accounts. But let's look at the numerous footer links at the bottom of the Neo City website. It's almost like a treasure chest. I hope my website will also be discovered by someone, the fun of clicking on the websites of Neocities, which inherited the spirit of Geocities.