A simple website

Or how not to take yourself too seriously

After years of tinkering responsive layouts and color schemes while looking for the perfect expression of my ego using my own webspace, I’ve come to that cliche conclusion that “simpler is better” (or “less is more”, whatever). I’ve been through Bootstrap and then dumped that in order to better understand CSS3 and how to control media queries and graphic elements. Some of the designs I ended up with I found to be pleasing and “expressive”, somewhat considering that they were discretely showing-off a part of my personality and expertise. And all that pure childish nonsense.

One day, however, I realised that all this worrying about “online presence aesthetics” is nothing but narcissistic. And this is something usually associated with the use of social media platforms, where everyone obsessively works on crafting fake public personas that feed their handicaped egos with dopamine from false social approval indicators (much of those in the form of likes and reactions). So, even if one does not use social media, is it OK to have the same superficial worries when it comes to a personal website (which may or may not contain a journal section)? Is it not the same tendency to craft a “digital self” that looks cool and manages to leave a relatively strong impression on the visitor? To what purpose?

This is the moment when one may have a small personal revelation, provided some time and introspection are allocated for the matter. Going down this particular rabbit hole reveals that the individual is “tormented” by the same personal voids avid social media users struggle with. One has to go deeper and honestly ask himself where does this need come from. What are the voids that would be masked by trivial digital social approval? “What am I running from? Is this somekind of refuge?”. Yes, work and journaling could both be hobbies and/or some kind of refuge, but that doesn’t mean they have to be “toxic”. Being dedicated to a personal endeavor is truly beneficial, so why not target that? Ask yourself what values most in your life. Is an online presence necessary at all? If so (for personal or professional reasons), try to find a way to accomplish that without compromising yourself. Let your work speak for you, not fancy photos and designs. And, most of all, don’t take yourself too seriously!.

In this day and age society encourages ultraindividualism. We are tempted to think that our small universe is the piece all other universes revolve around, which is false. Of course, what we do everyday and the way we act impacts our community, even if in more discreet ways. You may not be “chief in command”, but how you act out in the world matters and it all starts within yourself, gradually propagating like concentric circles on the surface of a pond: yourself, your room, your house, your spouse, your family, your neighbors, the street, etc.

Don’t take yourself too seriously by assuming great importance. You are not a corporation or a brand image. Your webspace is yours alone and it should be a place about the work you do and (if desired) some of the ideas, principles and concepts you wish to share with others. It should only be focused on content and ideas in order to stir fruitful debates, collaborations or exchanges.

This is the thought process that led me here, putting together this simple website. It may feel like traveling back in time, but it’s HTML with little CSS. And yes, I do use some GIF animations here and there, because they are funny. My aim here is to have a webpage that is highly usable in lynx and that constraint alone helped me trimming out the excess weight of the whole website. Simple, fast, efficient. Not seeking social approval (as Luke Smith once said: “I didn’t switch to Linux in order to make friends” - I would add “I didn’t switch to a dumb website in order to get likes & shares”, or something like that) or to create a “divine” image of myself in order to impress. Just a simple, plain, God-damn personal website.

Well, this is one more step towards downsizing the ego.