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I don't want a personal web site. I've had a handful of them in the past, and I've thrown together a couple shitty blogs over the years, but there are three big reasons why I don't anymore: I'm not that interesting; I don't have anything to show off; and inevitably it'll either become a chore or go out of date.

Like everyone, I harbor fantasies about how interesting I am, and if I run into you at the pub, I'll talk your ear off about the places I've been and the things I've done, but if I'm objective about it, none of it is particularly praiseworthy, and it's hardly going to make me stand out to a potential employer. Any attempt to dramatize my life or skills is going to reek of pomposity, even the rare bits that are somewhat unique.

I'm not a designer. I'm not a visual person. Any attempt to fashionably describe myself is going to backfire. My resume is a good overview of my skills and experience, but if I try to turn that into an online portfolio, it's not going to be any more impressive. If I don't keep it up to date, and remodel it constantly to keep up with contemporary fashions, it's going to make me look old and out of touch.

I have an exceedingly common first and last name, so I'm hard for employers to find online. I'm happy about this. I don't want employers scrutinizing my social media presence, as benign as it is. I would never give a potential employer any of my online IDs if they asked.

If you've got something to say or show and you want your own home page, go for it. I don't think most people actually have enough interesting content to warrant it, though, and I'm pretty sure that I don't.




> I'm not that interesting; I don't have anything to show off; and inevitably it'll either become a chore or go out of date.

The main goal of my blog was not to be interesting or show off (even though I do include my side projects etc.), but to write about specific issues I managed to solve. As a software developer, I'm googling for problems all the time. 95% of the time I land on StackOverflow or GitHub issues. But it's about those 5% that I find a blog post which really helps me. My goal was to contribute back the same way.

If you don't like to actively maintain a blog, just set up a GitHub repo + GitHub Pages (or even go for plain GitHub Gists). As long as the information can be found via a search engine, it's good enough.

Finally - don't create a blog just because you feel obliged to. It's totally fine as a developer not to have a blog.


> My goal was to contribute back the same way.

YES! So much of our computing-related triumphs come from documentation that other people wrote. Even super basic stuff that no senior developer or sysadmin would dream of asking, that stuff still needs to be written down by someone.

I have a dozen or so Markdown documents of varying sizes that I need to finish, proof and polish before putting them online. I sorely lacking in motivation (and sleep)


My quotes file recently reached 1MB of plain text, 160,257 words.

I started this file 17 years ago!

This is enough to fill three average sized novels!

One day... I might have a go at weaving a narrative through it.


recently came across http://jrnl.sh/


Vimwiki [1] is probably also worth a mention because it has a neat diary feature as well. Jrnl appears to have more diary specific features, but Vimwiki also worked well so far for my (probably rather basic) needs.

[1]: https://github.com/vimwiki/vimwiki


What do you mean by quotes file?


It’s a text file where I’ve copy and pasted paragraphs and comments I’ve found interesting from books and online, and a few of my own thoughts.

Each entry is preceded by the date the entry was made, and followed by a reference to the source.

Because I’ve used some of the material multiple times I’m vaguely aware of the overall structure, and I use it as a bit of a knowledge-base.

As an example I’ll probably pop this comment in there later, so some of the materiel is mundane. Some of it seemed profound in the context of my life at the time, but might make less sense years later out of context.

I’ve only ever deleted a handful of entries in that 17 years.

I guess parts of it are a bit like a diary too, but I’ve never been very good at intentionally keeping a diary.


Once upon a time they called it a commonplace book


Pretty interesting that the roots of Evernote begin in Early Modern Europe.

I've been doing this for years (on paper, no less) without knowing that it had a name.

Edit: Here's an article that gave me some good ideas about different things to do with my book.

https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2013/08/how-and-why-...


I didn’t understand what the parent was trying to say until I read your comment.

Commomplace book - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonplace_book


I did the same sort of thing, but with quotes on paper. I took 30 years worth, organized them, and published the results as a book.


Link please. (:


Release the documents first, then finish or polish them. If you get bored with them, someone else might want to finish them off or extend them. But unless you publish them, they're only benefiting you. You might also find more motivation if they're already out there.


> The main goal of my blog was not to be interesting or show off

That's what they all say.

Humans are social creatures and the main motivator for anyone to do anything in public is to "show off" or "be interesting". "All is vanity".

That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Without a desire to compete, impress, prove our worth and so on we'd be living in huts. But it's something to be aware of and something that should be tempered.

I think the pendulum is swinging away from modesty plus self-reflection and towards "people documenting their lives in public".


I think your view is too cynical. People also can be motivated by altruism or by wanting to pay it forward. I've answered plenty of questions on facebook/reddit/etc. and do so because people have answered my questions in the past.

The part you are correct about is that it is easy to then get wrapped up in how many visitors your blog gets or how many upvotes your answer gets. Those vanity metrics definitely pull on the vanity strings. But, some people definitely do not care about "showing-off" when they put something up online.


> But, some people definitely do not care about "showing-off" when they put something up online.

If you don't care about showing off then you won't publish anything. People who are actually altruistic won't tell you about their altruism.

This isn't cynicism. The hunger for respect, admiration and recognition is not a bad thing. But it is necessary for people to understand what motivates them. And it is necessary for us to construct a society in which respect is earned by performing actions that are broadly beneficial to that society (as far as we can estimate, anyway).

Today, anyone can broadcast. But that doesn't mean that everyone should broadcast. The old gatekepers weren't perfect but they served a necessary purpose. Who are the new gatekeepers?


> If you don't care about showing off then you won't publish anything. People who are actually altruistic won't tell you about their altruism.

My point is that I think your thesis is too cynical. Many people start out writing their blogs or answer questions on public forums with the intent of trying to help other people out. The motivation can be of the form "I solved this problem and I am going to write about it because maybe my solution will save someone else time" rather than "I solved this problem and I am going to write about it so that everyone visits my website and I get famous." Maybe they become more motivated by vanity and blog metrics later on if their blog takes off. But, many people write stuff online with the intent to help others out and not solely out of hunger for respect, admiration and recognition.

> Today, anyone can broadcast. But that doesn't mean that everyone should broadcast. The old gatekepers weren't perfect but they served a necessary purpose. Who are the new gatekeepers?

You lost me here.


In my opinion, you try to make a distinction where is none. What is the difference between showing off and helping others in the context of technical questions on blogs/forums? Yes, you help others by providing solutions/advice for dificult problems. And you get satisfaction from the fact that you succeded where others stumbled and you let everybody know it by posting it online. You prove your value to a group of people, which gives you a feeling of inclusion -> important motivator.

In general, there is no such thing as altruism. You always get something out of helping others that keeps you going. Nobody is truly selfless. Altuists are the species which died out long time ago.


Meh, Ayn Rand is wrong, lots of people do things that they'd rather not be doing for the good of their family/friends/society. I'm not sure why so many people adhere to her antisocial musings. Sure some people only do things that only make them feel good. Altruism exists despite all the Randians attempts to morph it into something else so they can feel better about being greedy/self-centered/self-serving like them.


> If you don't care about showing off then you won't publish anything

I want to agree, but how can we explain near-anonymous StackOverflow profiles who have brilliant answers in them, but no way to identify who the actual person they are?


Anonymity doesn't change the equation. No one on hackernews knows who I am but I still want the recognition of my peers (upvotes) which is why I'm posting here.

The fact that everyone ultimately wants peer-approval means we need to create participatory structures in which people are rewarded (with approval) for doing useful things. Stackoverflow is a perfect example of this. People gain karma by answering questions that other people ask.

"Everyone should have a blog" is the opposite of this. It's feel-good nonsense along the lines of "everyone has their own subjective truth and all truths are equal". If we tell everyone to publish it will become near-impossible to find voices worth hearing. It's like saying you should answer every question on stackoverflow whether or not you know the answer.


You're leftyted, I see you!

People see different facets of our identity, only God sees all of them.

In some cases our limited online presence might represent a more authentic version of our 'true selves' than we present in [the rest of] "real life".

>"it will become near-impossible to find voices worth hearing" //

Isn't the OP saying there that we all have a voice worth hearing. You're right that it would be harder to find the voices we could extract the most value from; but realistically that's probably already impossible.


Most of my Stack Overflow karma has come from edits.

Just like in real life; I'll underwhelm the average sleuth with the amount of badges I have vs. the work I've actually done.


> Today, anyone can broadcast. But that doesn't mean that everyone should broadcast.

I don't agree here. Perhaps "not everything should be broadcast" might be better?


I agree that everyone should broadcast, just let me filter it on the input side.


> Who are the new gatekeepers?

I would posit that the new gatekeepers are algorithms. For example, Google search algorithms, Youtube recommendations, Facebook news feed Edgerank, etc.


I would up vote this.

There's a distinction between self promotion and genuine honest expression of who we are, what we presently think is true.

I feel like there is something fundamentally human when people try to do that with each other.


>.. we'd be living in huts.

As someone who has actually lived in a hut, I would like you to know that living in huts should not be used as a derogatory example. In fact hut living was the best time of my life and I long to replicate the simplicity and freedom it afforded.


I love the diversity HN has. My wife also grew up in a tiny minimalistic house. We'd eat on the floor, no space for even a dining table. It was a lot of fun.


I spent the first few memorable years of my life in a trailer park. I can relate. People have come and gone, I've certainly had "started from the bottom [now we here]" moments - but even at a young age - I saw honesty in ways I've never seen it since. The people were better, and I think it was because they were humble.


Care to share more about this? Eg, when, where, why?


As a kid in the 80s born and lived in a traditional Yoruba village established within a forest in the South Carolina lowcountry.


> the main motivator for anyone to do anything in public is to "show off" or "be interesting". "All is vanity".

I think that's demonstrably far too broad of a brush. Yes, this is a very common motivator, but it's hardly universal.


I tried doing what the OP described, become some interesting blogger person, but threw in a 2 or 3 line article about some mundane error I had with a tool one day mixed in with all the other wordfluff.

Surprisingly the error code drew a ton of traffic compared to anything interesting I could have possibly thought about writing.


You stumbled upon a technical writing best practice. Always include the exact error code and message in documentation because people often search for that exact string.


Analogous: supply a link rather than tell someone to look it up.


and/or the exact text of the message. A vague search is fine if there are few matches,but there's a lot of cruft out there.


Out of curiosity, why not use a free platform like stack overflow or a github issue to publish your solutions?


There's nothing wrong with those options either. But some problems are opinionated or not specific enough for Stack Overflow (e.g. "what are the alternatives to include comments on a static site"). There's also the certainty that my content remains independent from other platforms and it remains available online as long as I keep paying for my server + domain.


Not the OP, but the reason that I don't use those platforms is, essentially, control. I don't trust any of them to exist forever, or to continue to operate in a way that works for me.

Keeping everything on a site that I am in control of eliminates the issues of uncertainty.

(I do answer direct questions on Stack Overflow and such, I just don't keep my accumulated works or investigative notes on third party sites.)


I tend to mix it up on my blog. If there is a problem I encounter, I write about the solution.

I also like to write about ideas I strung together that I sourced from books, podcasts, and other posts. I followed the same path as OP in regards to blogging in early 2000's then kinds letting my site languish. I have been trying to write a bit more over the last year.

I have found that checking out the analytics on the blog from time to time also helps me guage what topics to write about.


> But it's about those 5% that I find a blog post which really helps me. My goal was to contribute back the same way.

This is the main reason that I keep a personal website.


Agreed. I try to frame my posts to have helpful information first and foremost, for others in the same situations or even for my future self. Or for trip report type posts, for any others that were on the trip with me.


> As a software developer, I'm googling for problems all the time.

Who would learn more? The one who searches for answer or the one who answers questions?


thats what stack overflow is for


I don't think writing is just about communicating things to other people. It's also communicating things to yourself.

I think the greatest value in writing things down is to order and articulate your own thoughts. Certainly in my own case, I never finish a large chunk of articles I start to write simply because during the research I find out I was wrong, or that things are more complex than I thought and I'm no longer sure I'm right.

See my personal website for a post I wrote about that :-) https://arp242.net/weblog/why-write.html

An additional reason is that publishing your thoughts also means people can point out flaws or points you hadn't considered. Maintaining a website is just one way of doing that of course (commenting here is another), but I find it's a pretty effective way.


> It's also communicating things to yourself.

Yeah! And remember to back it up. I had a blog in the early days when it was all new, and bitterly regret not backing it up properly - 5 years of content gone.


I handle my websites in a way that provide automatic backups -- I keep complete mirrors on my own machines that are already part of a backup regime. I make changes to the mirrors, and then upload the changes from there to the public sites.

That way, I always have an offline copy without having to remember to make one specifically.


Have you checked archive.org for a backup? It's saved me a few times.


No, I wrote the blog software myself and all the content was stored in a MySQL database on my rented host. I thought I'd backed it up, but hadn't. It's the usual story of "it isn't a backup until you've tested it".


This fits my experience as well. It’s always interesting to see what assumptions or unspecific placeholders I made that are fleshed out when actually writing.


To pick a bit, your *Breaking Bad" reference occurs well into the series, not at the start. It opens with his diagnosis, which sets everything else in motion.


It's one of the first episodes, like the third or something? In the context of 62 episodes in total, I would consider that to be "at the start".

That said, it's needless verbiage, and removing "at the start" made the paragraph better.


I recently wrote a blog about “Dutch Oven Fried Chicken”[1], I don’t think it’s particularly interesting and anyone can do it. However, now I can send a link to a friend and go back and make the recipe myself.

Blogging for me isn’t about popularity. It’s about being able to share ones ideas and document your interests. I send links to my blog all the time, because I wrote about topics I found challenging / fun. I don’t think it’s the best, but it is my own thoughts.

Speaking of which... I’ve written about learning through storytelling[2] and blogging[3].

[1] https://austingwalters.com/dutch-oven-fried-chicken/

[2] https://austingwalters.com/how-storytelling-effects-learning...

[3] https://austingwalters.com/learning-through-blogging/


> I don’t think it’s particularly interesting and anyone can do it. However, now I can send a link to a friend and go back and make the recipe myself.

I used to have a blog or two back in the day and two things I noted back then was:

1. If I figured something out that I hadn't found a solution to elsewhere on the net people would find their way to my site. No further SEO necessary. (I don't know if this would work anymore.)

2. Sometimes I would Google [0] a weird problem and find my own page.

[0]: yep, that's what I did until three years ago or so)

Edit:

FTR I never made any money on this. It wasn't that popular.

Also I recently started writing again at https://erik.itland.no just to contribute some stupid posts like those you'd find on the old web I used to like. Hopefully I can start adding some links to stuff I like to read as well, and deliberately not add any dum nofollow or other stupid CEO. My wesite, not Googles :-]

Edit 2:

Could we have a tread were everyone who wants posts their imperfect personal web sites? Or has there been one and I have missed it?


You're actually touching on the reason why SEO is an anti-pattern for society. Search engines (ideally) eventually find the best source of information for a query. SEO artificially skews these results.


Agree, which is why I think we (random people with technical skills who like to hang around the web) could do something good and useful just by creating genuine websites for no other reason than the art, fun and knowledge sharing.

If we all did we could soon have something really awesome going on.

If there ever was a good time to do this again it seems to be now.


> No further SEO necessary. (I don’t know if this would work anymore.)

This still works. I wrote about a topic awhile back o help me understand it and when I search for the topic, my post still appears in the search results.

I didn’t write it to get to the top of any search result but for myself so I could understand it. Now when I see the post there, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who benefitted. As other people have pointed out:

Write. Put it out there. Do it for yourself first and not to be popular. If it helps you, it might help someone else. And who knows, someone else might even point out something you didn’t know before.


You should consider using a trivet to keep your chicken off the bottom of the dutch oven/where the temperatures are more consistent.


Thank you for the trivet recommendation. In addition to purchasing the 5L ditch oven and thermometers after reading the recipe blog post I've now purchased a trivet to go along with it.


I was kind of thinking along the same lines as the OP until I read your comment, in particular "It’s about being able to share ones ideas and document your interests". I really like the idea (and it seems obvious to me now) that you could use a personal website as a documentation hub for various things that come up and that could be useful to others. Ha! The original point of the internet. I might have to set up a site now.

Hmm... let's call it a Personal Open Document (POD) or something like that.


Yep.

I took a deep dive at one point into understanding concurrent transaction behavior in MySQL and its ramifications. Probably go back and reference that post about once a month...


Thank you for sharing the fried chicken recipe. I've ordered the oven and thermometers and will be attempting it this Friday night.


Have you considered crowdfunding further development of your recipe, like the infamous potato salad Kickstarter?


> I'm not that interesting; I don't have anything to show off; and inevitably it'll either become a chore or go out of date.

I think it's a good idea to have a personal web site. If someone wants to find out more about you, they have a chance of hearing your side of the story: what's interesting to you, what you've shared with the world, and so on. If you only post on Facebook, Twitter, etc., then when those sites disappear or change their terms of service your information doesn't disappear. Do you want those companies in complete control of what others learn about you, or do you want to have some control? There are many former powerhouses of social interaction that have since disappeared, including MySpace, AOL, Google+. But if you own your own web site, you decide if it will remain available, not someone else, and what it will say.

You don't need to be "interesting". Everyone is probably interesting to someone anyway, and I think that's the wrong thing to strive for. Instead, think of things that you could share that might be useful to someone else, and share them. If you've helped someone else, then you've provided value to the world, and that's all anyone can ask for.

There's no requirement that you keep everything "up to date". Put a date on what you release, modify it if you update, and that's that. If it was released 20 years ago, it'll make the time clear. And really old stuff can still be really useful.

I just Googled myself, and my home page returns the top rank to me. Sure, it might not to others, but clearly it's possible to be easily findable even with a somewhat common name.

Regarding "enough interesting content"... you don't need to have a lot of interesting content. Post at least one thing that you believe helps at least one other person. Now your site has value to someone else. To me, that's enough.


These are all great arguments but they're also contingent on Google. If google doesn't show your website to people when they search for you, then they won't find it.


> I'm not that interesting

I disagree. Your thoughts on this topic have gone to the top of HN. To me, that implies you're interesting enough to be able to write thoughtful pieces that a bunch of other online armchair commentators agree with and upvote :)

Don't sell yourself short, friend!


Being able to write an interesting comment in response to a particular topic that frustrates you is not at all the same thing as having spontaneous interesting thoughts about enough topics to make a personal website/blog about it.


Plenty of blogs are nothing but interesting comments on topics that frustrate the author.

Even some of the most well known writings in computer science are just that, like the short article by some guy frustrated with everyone using goto instead of functions/while/for/etc (the article that inspired countless "... considered harmful" headlines).


I used to feel the same way as you, but then I decided I didn't care if I was interesting or not (I'm not). So I made myself a website. I only update it a handful of times a year when I have something that I'm excited enough to write about. I choose a dead simple design that would be timeless and never need updating.[0]

Turns out a few things I've written about have actually been very helpful and useful to a handful of other people in the world, and they even emailed me to thank me for sharing it! That was pleasant. I'm not looking to be famous or popular, but it felt good knowing that something I had done helped a few other people out.

[0] My styles are based on this: https://github.com/programble/writ

It's basically Web 1.0 but made to look nice and read well on large screens.

I'm a UX designer in my professional life but the last thing I wanted was a slick, trendy, bloated site. My site is completely static and loads blazingly fast. The CSS is simple too so it should play nice with user-agent styles too.


> I'm a UX designer in my professional life but ... My site is completely static and loads blazingly fast.

Isn't that good UX design? Or are fast-loading sites a taboo in the UX field?


> Isn't that good UX design?

It certainly is!

> Or are fast-loading sites a taboo in the UX field?

Tragically overlooked.


> go out of date

Pause for a moment on this one. Why would it go out of date?

The oldest content currently listed on the front page of my website is from 2005. What is in it has not gone out of date in the slightest. In fact, nothing from the intervening fourteen years has gone out of date. I could probably dig back through archive.org and pick out some more from sites I had back in the 1990's that would still be perfectly good, up to date content today.

If what you're writing is substantive, not gossip, there is no reason to think about it going out of date. Just don't wrap it in a blog format where the structure of the site makes it look like it's going out of date.


Maybe they mean things like commands to install software, command line arguments, dead URLs. Things like that change.


Most of my website is my personal documentation. I write on my blog because I want to save something or archiving stuff.

I don't write for anyone, or because I think I'm an interesting person. If it help someone, good, but the main purpose is to help myself. I don't really write a lot and I don't think I should write on regular basis. I just write when I need it.

Of course you might not feel the need of doing that, but having that tool helped me a lot personnaly and professionnaly.


I actually feel the opposite. People do seem to be interested in the stuff I do, but the idea of creating a blog to brag about it is pretty horrifying to me.

Instead, I just send pictures of the stuff to those closest to me via SMS or other social networks, and call it a day. I don't need the whole world to know about my personal interests.

If I decide to try to make money from any of those hobbies, then I would start a blog or portfolio for that, but that'd be business, not personal.


This is a well-written comment from an interesting point of view. That's all you need to write a blog article. If there are things you'd rather be doing than writing a blog, do them instead, but a blog doesn't have to be an exercise in personal branding. It can just be a place where you publish your thoughts and the things you've learned.


This is a well-written comment from an interesting point of view. That's all you need to write a blog article.

Writing HN comments is much easier than writing blog posts because the inspiration is the story that's been linked to; for a blog post you don't have that starting point, you just have a blank page. That's a heck of a barrier for most people when they're starting out.


I've considered rolling comments I've made here into blog posts. I'm not sure if that's a fox paws[0], though.

[0] I know. I did it on purpose.


If it's insightful/interesting - why not?

It's incredibly hard to search HN comments via search engines too, but I've definitely come across comments that just made me stop and think.


Jokes are like code. If you have to explain then it's probably not very good. ;)


I take great joy in awful jokes and puns. For some reason they make me very happy.


> I don't want a personal web site. I've had a handful of them in the past, and I've thrown together a couple shitty blogs over the years, but there are three big reasons why I don't anymore: I'm not that interesting; I don't have anything to show off; and inevitably it'll either become a chore or go out of date.

My wife and I are fairly boring people. I'm a sysadmin and fill-in sales rep at work, she works for the local government. Our hobbies are run of the mill; she reads and reviews the books she's read, I tinker with embedded computing projects and niche operating systems, and in the past have written (but not published) short fiction.

She maintains a review blog she started a few years ago when she wanted to connect better with the authors and fellow reviewers she was in contact with on Facebook and Twitter. It has taken off as far as such sites can, and while it takes up a ton of her free time after work and on weekends, we balance with time together as well. She makes absolutely no money from it (she hates the idea of ads on her site) and honestly I agree with her; she would feel like it was a second job if she tried to monetize it. Still, she does it because she enjoys the back-and-forth she gets with authors, and she often gets to meet some of her personal heroes in real life at conventions and release parties. I'd say having a personal website has helped her feel fulfilled outside of a boring day job and I'm all for it, even though it means less time spent doing things together. It makes that time together even more precious and fulfilling.

Oh, and as for me...I did start a writing blog several years ago but writing fell to the wayside and I haven't posted anything in a couple of years. I've thought about ditching that altogether and blogging about embedded projects instead, but I have more fun doing the hobby itself than I would writing about it. I'm not a very social person and I don't have any social media accounts (unless this site and my sporadic activity on OSNews counts), and overall I feel I'm a pretty boring guy outside of niche circles. I'm also not job hunting nor am I in a hiring role at work, so I don't feel the need for my info to be out there.


I would be stoked to read about your projects with embedded systems or your unpublished short stories. Hell, even if they suck, that’s more authentic and more interesting than 99% of the internet right now.


Check your email :-)


These are not run of the mill hobbies.


> I have more fun doing the hobby itself than I would writing about it.

This is a real problem.

I tend to always have at least one hobby project going on that I know would be of interest to a wide group of people (such as the smartphone I'm currently building).

However, I don't like to document the projects as I go along, because it makes the project more difficult and time-consuming to accomplish, and I start to feel pressure to make sure that I'm providing regular updates -- which turns the hobby into a sort of job.

Instead, I prefer to document dump all my notes and sketches, and put the code and schematics up, after I've completed the project entirely. This means that I don't have a great deal of "work in progress" photos and the like, and that my post is not useful for people who want to see the process of development itself, but it's a compromise that works for me.


> I'm not that interesting; I don't have anything to show off; and inevitably it'll either become a chore or go out of date.

There was a writer (sorry, forgot who), that used to say: it's not that your life is not interesting, it's that you don't have a good storyteller to tell it.

Good storytellers can spin up a great story out of seemingly very boring facts. It's just the way you tell it.

Most youtubers/streamers/influencers are not really saying anything particularly cool or interesting, but they know how to tell it to their audience.

It's very similar to marketing/product. You need a decent product to sell, but most of the success will come from being able to properly market it, not from how good the product is.

In this case, you and your experiences are the product, the stories about them and how to tell them are the marketing.

You can definitely learn how to tell better stories.

One last analogy, you know when someone tells a joke and it's just not funny at all? Then your hear someone else tell exactly the same joke, but now it's actually really funny? The difference is not the joke, but they way they tell it.


I have an exceedingly common first and last name

As you implied, that's kind of like a secret weapon. No bored middle manager can Google you and not hire you because they didn't like the wording of a DIY forum post about your plumbing 9 years ago.


I agree! My real name is exceedingly common as well, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It makes me essentially ungoogle-able.


At a contrast: I think lots of people have he problem that regardless of how interesting they are in the grand scheme, they are more interesting then they seem. So a blog becomes a good way to expose that.

If you think yourself less interesting than you seem, then perhaps being less known and is a better option :)


I have run joelx.com for 12 years now and have thousands of posts. As social media sites have come and gone, this site has remained. I sometimes will copy and paste a social media post onto my site or vice versa. I think when you have all your ideas and memories in one place, it becomes very powerful. I like to take a trip down memory lane once in a while and see what I was thinking or working on a decade ago.


> Like everyone, I harbor fantasies about how interesting I am, and if I run into you at the pub, I'll talk your ear off about the places I've been and the things I've done, but if I'm objective about it, none of it is particularly praiseworthy, and it's hardly going to make me stand out to a potential employer. Any attempt to dramatize my life or skills is going to reek of pomposity, even the rare bits that are somewhat unique.

https://fs.blog/2012/07/how-to-win-friends-and-influence-peo...

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.


For what it’s worth, I think this comment would make a great single page personal website.


I just enjoy writing and when a topic is really on my mind it gives me an outlet. I honestly never thought anyone would read half the stuff I write but several things have made it here for big discussions. It was pretty fun and encouraging so I kept doing it.


You should take this comment and use it as your personal web page. It shows how grounded you are and how much you know yourself and can recognize your own limitations. It’s a breath of fresh air where there does seem to be a lot of pomp and over selling.


Decades ago I never really understood how to use VI editor or how ATM AAL5 worked or how SSH authorized keys worked until I wrote it down and tried to teach a coworker. Ditto Kerberos, SSL, AFS, LDAP, BGP route priority list, DNS glue records, lisp lambda functions ...

For topics I'm an expert at, or at least an old timer, I'm well aware I'm worse at teaching those topics than someone who more recently learned and I wouldn't even bother trying to document or teach that stuff.

Find your edge, push a bit beyond it, chmod a+r your notebook, more or less.


I'm going to opine that you probably are a lot more interesting than might think.

Granted that most people's lives don't serialise down well into a regular stream of weekly episodes. If one can put aside the requirement to "be someone" on the internet, I think maintaining a personal site can be a really great form of self expression, albeit with a few provisos.


Rather than a personal website, I think having an "nonpersonal" website ( or domain ) in order to learn and play around with technologies like ( web server, database, dns, networking, etc ) is better. Though I guess you could do all that locally within your own intranet.


You should make a personal website, and just copy-paste this post onto it. Would be a bold statement!


I came here unknowingly to hear this. I am you. Thank you for this.

Fair points.

That said, I wonder if the things I find interesting, smart, or well articulated are thought of that way by the author. If the author knows it and I don't, maybe the author thinks it's obvious where I find it surprising.


> and inevitably it'll either become a chore or go out of date.

That, or you might feel pressurized into finding some interesting hobbies or pastimes. The horror!


I keep my own simple static web site in order to host my resume. It is by far the most important page, and, at times, the most visited.


So true. The vast majority of the web must surely be out of date, uninteresting, and not worth keeping.


To be fair, this comment would make a pretty good blog post


You should be more positive about yourself. You're interesting. I believe in you.

telaport 23 days ago [flagged]

I may not know who you are, but after reading this post I know that I would definitely never want to hire you. So there's that.


Please don't be rude and mean.

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