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Friday, September 30th, 2005, 7:09 am

The Age of Personal Homepages

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IN recent years we have seen the rise of (soon the demise of [2, 3]) blogs, as well as various personal homepages. The curious statistics include myself although I began when I was 15 with admittedly poor content. This dates back to the last century and is hence not considered “recent” either. Homepages used to be common habit among academics who wished to disseminate recent work, openly expressing to peers their research interests and showing (off) a list of publications.

This morning my 9-year-old sister approached me and asked for a personal homepage1. She got envious since her friends have one already. Funny enough, she even wanted her own domain, but I stopped her right there. It was just over a year ago that she asked me to add a photo to a family photos page and I added several albums to the Genealogy section.

Trends appear to evolve and greed mounts enough to justify extending a single page, which soon becomes an independent, stand-alone site. It has become a norm rather than the exception and the ‘entry barrier’ is easier to get by. Several years ago there were only a few ‘brave’ individuals who boasted a page or a blog, but today these are so common that they are merely insignificant. The excess — or the overload as some would prefer to call it — makes visitors less willing to explore. In more and more forms and an increasing number of subscription we are given the input field “homepage” these days. So, individualism it no longer is.

Due to such homepages, it is also easier to access our minds, which as many other things can be used for better or for worse. One thing is for sure: the early years of the 21st century will be remembered as the days when many people began erecting personal, self-centric sites (as opposed to scattered pages). Consequently, freedom of speech was on the rise (or conversely muted) and privacy jeopardised.

1 I am afraid her homepage will remain unindexed by crawlers and accessible only to her friends for the time being.

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