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My MySite

My MySite

I'm going back to the Web, and this time it's personal . . .

I traditionally use the two weeks after Christmas to reflect on what I need to achieve this year. The time is ideal as it's quiet at work, apart from last minute orders and projects that suddenly must be completed by December 31. The week following New Year is also quiet, requiring only mopping up the debris of urgent orders and projects that were unnaturally forced through by year end.

In 2006 I need a personal Web site. I was put off doing it as people's sites I've visited have only given me riveting information like the birthday of their Doberman and photos of the family holiday in Tucson. Now however, all truly modern techno-conformists have personal sites ­therefore so must I.

It's a natural trend. In the old days (that is, around 1980) households had just the one television, one telephone, one car, one stereo, one computer, and now we have a personal one of each. Web sites in the old days (that is, 1996) were only used by companies to publish their brochures, address and phone number, plus their mission and vision on a second page no one visited. Now these too are becoming essential individual items. I wonder how domain naming conventions will cope as everyone gets their own Web site. It might have worked for telephone numbers but I don't think just putting a "9" in front of www is the answer.

My Web site will need a few essentials. A name, design, content and links to sites and search engines. Clearly the most important element is the name. Admittedly having left it 10 years too late, all the good ones, like bruce.com, are taken. All the obscure ones, like iambored.com, are also taken. Even all the bad ones, like www.expertsexchange.com - an exchange of experts - are gone.

Fortunately, there are new domains popping up now. There's Australian placenames, .travel domain, .eu for Europe and .xxx for sex sites is likely soon (which could be good for the Experts Exchange). I looked for a domain called .personal, but I suspect it's never been created as that would make it too easy for people to add it to their filters and exclude them all. Domain companies are promoting the Malaysian domain - .my - for personal use, but I've had enough My Everything in Windows. The Europe site names go on sale to individuals in April, so maybe I'll try for www.bruce.eu (even though www.sacrebl.eu would be more fun).

Failing that, I could pick an existing name, given up to 2.3 million Web sites are estimated to have incorrect or misleading registration data, so could be deregistered according to a survey by the US Government Accountability Office (which seems misleading in itself).

The design of my Web site should conform to the Web 2.0 convention, although it says personal Web sites are out and blogs are in. But blogs do not fully satisfy my sense of self, my identity, my purpose in life. I need to have a Web image - not the one people form when they meet me, but a positive one.

Web 2.0 specifies the use of RSS to allow people to subscribe to my site and get notified of changes as they occur, rather than just passive linking to a URL. The birth of my Web site means I've got to push! With pushing goes labour, and the downside is I'll need to keep my site updated which requires constant effort. Fortunately the key to Web 2.0 is collaboration, where others are trusted to be co-developers and to harness collective intelligence. This is a great step forward for the future of humankind, plus I'll hopefully get other people to do my work for free.

The content of my site is crucial. It will be all about me, my skills and my experience, so people all over the world can be impressed and offer me work. It will be the portal to my home computer. I'll connect my contacts list with a map service, so I know where my friends live and directions on how to get there. I'll link to phone records so I'll know who rang me and who I rang, which will tell me which friends always wait for me to call and never call me. Downloading credit card transactions will list the presents I bought for Christmas so I don't double up next year.

Perhaps more importantly, and more commonly, my Web site will satisfy my frustration at being an unpublished author, an unproduced screenplay writer, an unheard radio broadcaster and an unknown film star. With blogs, online publishing, MP3 and WMV downloads, I have an audience of 6 billion people (possibly lower if I don't count people for whom finding clean water is a higher priority than surfing Web sites) who now all have an equal chance of ignoring me.

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