Alex Payne is a writer based in Portland, Oregon.

since 2001, al3x.net has served as his online home.

Why This Is Here and That's There

I’ve seen the sentiment expressed of late that content is no longer being created and presented as creatively as it was on the earlier days of the web (read: a few years ago); that all the potential outlets for content are draining away the impulse to build weird and wonderful homes for our ideas. Certainly I’ve watched myself and many others blog far less because of Twitter. Personal sites have gotten duller, and more people seem to be migrating to “ego aggregators” that pull together an individual’s activity across a variety of sites and services into one narrative stream.

The reason, I think, is this: some content makes sense here, and other content makes more sense over there. I could write a post about a web site I liked or build a special “links” section on this site, or I could put my link on del.icio.us. I could let you know that I listened to a new song a bunch, or I could automatically let Last.fm know. I could write posts about the daily mundanities of my life, or I could put them on Twitter where you could consume them voraciously, ignore them entirely, or something in between. I could record my consumer activities on this blog, or write reviews on Amazon.

For now, I’ll put my content over there, because my content has more value for other people over there. It can be structured, tagged, archived, processed, taken in aggregate. Putting our content in specially-designed boxes is a stop-gap, a long bridge over the troubled waters that lead to the Semantic Web. There’s no question that it’s less creative, and maybe even a little unsettling to trust a faceless virtual entity with what we’ve thought, written, and produced. But it’s efficient.

In a marketplace of ideas, you still have to go to market. You can sell out of your home, sure, but you’ll do a brisker business if you head towards the optimal place to sell what you’re selling. Jewelers work in the diamond district; I post links to del.icio.us. It’s a strained analogy, but I’m sure you get my point.

To that end, I’ve added a sidebar here with links to the various places where I share content. I’m not ready for a full-on ego aggregator, but this’ll do for interested parties.

C4-[1]: Shawn Morel on VMware Fusion

Scaling the Scaling Debate