I eventually opened my personal portal on the web exactly 10 years ago and today, I'd like to apologize to the millions of victims of this tragedy: the visitors from all over the world who lost at best their precious time, at worst their sanity in what is now a multi-site, multi-platform monster. Since I cannot predict the future (even if, I'm afraid, you shouldn't expect containment until I stop living - which includes writing, my most embarrassing bodily function), here's a quick summary of what happened over this doomed decade.
0) In the beginning was the word:
|naughty homepage v1.0|
the "geocities" years)
The concept was simple:
- No avatar, no pseudo: I commit to all the ill-written and nonsensical stuff I spill over the web. After all, they're just words, and my name happens to mean "word" in French.
- It's at the same time public and personal, but not intimate. I'm not pushing my own opinions, they simply have to come out of my system. Pure junk writing, no literature.
- It's egotic, not narcissic. Yes that's a game of mirrors, but as in some kind of a Borghesian experiment. And in this mess / maze, I can find pricelessly inane stuff that I would otherwise lose for good. Plus I need to fuel my own ecosystem, to plug it to both reality and virtuality. If I often build inept synaptic connections that slow the whole system down, I always learn something about my own impostures and dysfunctions.
I) Homepaging (Home, Sweet and Sour Home):
In 2003, I'd been journeying for 10 years into strategy and innovation. I had a lot of fun conceiving and managing online and interactive services and apps, or forecasting disruptions in highly evolutive ecosystems, but at home, the last thing I wanted was to create my own start-up (I'd already survived four of those), or to think about technology or solutions... particularly since I knew that major disruptions would come sooner than later, that the next Googles would change everything, that new concepts, platforms, devices, usages would emerge.
All I needed was a place to drop the 'junk writing' I excreted. Neither a flush toilet nor a vault: I wanted to easily access and browse it. Ultimately, I wanted my content to be in my own "cloud", as I drew it back then on my silly slides: a cartoon-like cloud accessible seamlessly from any connected device - no matter where I logged in, I wouldn't have to care about input or output formats, on which server I was.
I knew we were far from that. I'd already toyed with mini mobile sites (eg WAP and i-mode), and I wanted to stick to the web, and to its most rudimentary forms at that. I've loved Wikis from the start, and content management systems were already legion (I also missed Wordpress by a few months), but I didn't want to be smart anyway.
Opting for Geocities was not very smart. It wasn't the least user-friendly web hosting solution, but back in 2003, Yahoo! were already officially has-beens. Yet I've been "faithfool" to Y! for my personal email service since 1996 (still now!), and I knew that the transfer would be easy.
Because for starters, I really wanted the basics for my personal-content / self-editing purposes. No frills, no forum, no interactivity: simple web pages that I could easily transfer to a smarter platform when the time came.
My initial menu was very simple, even if I expected innovations for each dimension:
- Home (basic: landing page for stephanemot.com, with a few simple dynamic animations like newsfeeds - potential: media),
- Beings (basic: ego, friends and neighbors, authors I like - potential: networking/communities),
- Things (basic: books, soccer/footlog, photos, innovations/mot-bile... - potential: endless verticals, videos),
- Places (basic: Paris, NYC, Seoul, Uqbar, world, travels, maps, random... - potential: mobility, location based services),
- blogules (basic: all posts on one page - potential: dedicated blogging platform)
- About, Links, Stats, Guestbook pages
- NB: I also created a "boutique" page (Little Shop of Errors). Not to generate revenues, but to cover all bases, and to follow/anticipate innovations for key 'enablers', particularly through Amazon, a player with an unsatiable appetite.
Of course I was not satisfied with the result, but at long last I had my own room with a roof.
I forgot to mention the fact that the site was in English and in French, which made it twice as big and boring. If the main menu never changed, the monster grew to about a hundred pages, each one an ergonomic mess filled with useless junk.
II) Blogging (Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Disinformation):
From the start, I knew that I should have used 'special purpose vehicles', most notably a blogging platform for my blogules, but I didn't want to manage several sites in parallel. I didn't expect to produce that much junk that quickly.
You've got to thank George W. Bush for that.
Saying that I got obsessed with the 2004 US Elections is an understatement. Only a portion of my 2003-2004 junk posted on various fora and media landed on the two interminable pages devoted to blogules (one in French, the other in English), but I postponed until after November 2, 2004 the switch to Blogger. Not the best platform back then, and I didn't feel comfortable growing a Google-dependence, but I expected Big G to lead on the way to convergence.
I haven't invested much time on my homepage ever since. When Geocities folded, I'd already had dispatched the bulk of the content to specific sites*, so I only transferred a tiny portion of the monster. To Google Pages. Again, not the best platform. Again, more Google-dependence.
Anyway. Today, stephanemot.com is basically a non-existent hub, an empty shell with little content and traffic. Nothing like its heyday madness, when Geocities had to regularly shut my site down because flocks of visitors coming for different 'verticals' were all converging to the same spot.
So we're in December 2004: John F. Kerry is not measuring the drapes at the White House, and I've just moved 3 of my blogs to Blogger: blogules (in English), blogules V.F. (in French), and mot-bile (innovation - in English). I still don't know today how I managed not only to feed and maintain the three of them, but also to need even more sites to sort more junk.
I spun off my soccer blog on France Football in October 2005 (in French - platform: Blogspirit). footlog quickly became a hit, and CNET France noticed this weird guy who blogged on soccer in French and on innovation in English: would you do a blog for us ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup? I did, for free, and it was fun. But I'm glad it's over: I've got enough trouble maintaining the whole shebang as it is, and I regularly turn down similar offers. I did accept a stunt for a French radio, to give it a try, but writing remains more fun. Among the different citizen journalism platforms I tried, I feel most comfortable with Rue89. I don't do columns, even if various papers have published my stuff or mentioned my work (eg Newsweek, IHT, Le Figaro, LA Times, Asian Times, Korea JoongAng Daily, Korea Herald...). I've been editor in chief in a previous life, but I'm not a journalist: I'm into Weapons of Mass Disinformation, see?
Nowadays, I seldom post on footlog, which in its own heyday ranked among France's top 7 sports blogs. I still force myself to post now and then on mot-bile, because that's a way of keeping an eye on sectors and players I enjoy decrypting. And if my blogules remain hot during election cycles in France and in the US, I've been much more busy with yet another blog.
I started SeoulVillage in February 2007, 6 years ago. More than a spin off of my blogules about Korea, I initially had in mind a proto-literary project about this shape-shifter of a city. I cowarded out, opted for English, and started yet another blog by yet another Foreigner in Asia. I'm happy to count many Korean culture lovers, researchers, journalists, or urbanists among frequent flyers, but I owe this city I love something more intimate. Hopefully, I shall complete this year my first collection of fictions about Seoul, in English.
Because I have the gall to define myself as an author, remember? Not much has been published to support the claim, but I've got another set of useless websites to maintain because of that**. More empty shells, I reckon: my excuse for a literature got lost in an void that, literally, can't even be described as interstellar.
III) Social Networking (Hypergraphia meet Multiple Personality Disorder):
Even if my Facebook or Twitter pages are not part of my personal portal, I have to mention here the difficulty of coping with various selves in social networking times.
I mostly write as myself and as SeoulVillage, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. To name the main sites:
- as Stephane Mot, the junk writer: 1 zombie website (stephanemot.com), but relatively active Facebook (facebook.com/stephanemot) and Twitter (@stephanemot) accounts.
- as Stephane Mot, the failed author: 2 book websites (dragedies.com, laliguedesoublies.com), 2 Facebook pages (one for the author, one for his dragedies), 1 Twitter account (@dragedies)
- as Stephane Mot, the start-up veteran: 1 blog (mot-bile)
- as Seoul Village: 1 blog (seoulvillage.com), 1 Facebook page (facebook.com/seoulvillage), 1 Twitter account (@theseoulvillage)
- as blogules: 2 blogs (blogules.com, blogules en Francais), 2 Facebook pages (EN: blogules - facebook.com/pages/Blogules/263494297051758 / FR: blogule - facebook.com/blogule), 1 Twitter account (@blogules)
- as footlog: 1 blog (footlog.blogs.francefootball.com), 1 Twitter account (@footlogbis)
- as Kim Mudangnim: 1 website (kimmudangnim.com), 1 Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/KIM-Mudangnim/246625385375575), 1 Twitter account (@kimmudangnim).
NB: I don't want to be a drag, but I had to mention this female character I created a couple of years ago (the story was published in Every Second Sunday - see "SWW 2010 Anthology"). No, Kim Mudangnim is not my female self (I'm not that sick), but I know she'll be back sooner or later. Until then, she needed someone to open virtual doors for her.
Sorry, but I can't fix my writing. Writing is my fix.
Since 2003, nonsensical posts about noncritical issues in nonenglish (get your blogules transfusion in French)
NEW: join blogules on Facebook!!! and Twitter (@stephanemot, @blogules)
* in 2007, I spun off a few pages that were not meant for a blogging platform, but nonetheless ended up on Blogger, like Little Shop of Errors (boutique - in French), Citizen Came (visitors stats - in English). I also backed-up the 2003-2004 blogules archives (in English and in French), as well as my soccer pages (footlog archives).
** see dragedies and La Ligue des Oublies (nevermind Kim Mudangnim).