Ugh. 2011 was not what i'd call a particularly good year. Figures that it was the 10 year aniversairy of MT and stuff, too. ; One casualty of the year was a lot of BS with my host and the loss of the server containing the Fredart and Sarah's Origami websites. I have backups, so i can put things back together, i just haven't had the time yet... that and the fact that i really want to change fredart itself into a site i actually use to post and organize stuff rather than an older, rarely used repository of my older work.
When i built the site back in 2000, non-static websites were kind of the new thing, sites that built themselves, parsing themselves server side when someone visited them. Up till then, updating a site was usually a manual task, editing the code to add stuff, tweak things, break things ; Of course, the kind of interconnected social platforms like DA and Pixiv and Facebook and Twitter and stuff were not something to really worry about integrating. I was proud of the fact that i had a little codebit on fredart that allowed TINAMI to index any new art i posted. Back then, your homepage WAS where your work went, and the goal was getting people to your page to look at your stuff.
Today, things are kinda different. The weird thing is, most of what i do and post and share can be (and often is) shared via the various active social network style 'enclaves' and in the case of Fredart, having the site be offline for several months is barely noticed. I post art here on DA and on Pixiv, something things on Tumblr, i link things in Twitter and Facebook, and (way too rarely) on the Megatokyo page itself. In what was a very disorganized and messed up year, it probably helped that all of this was plugged into neetworks (<-- that was totally a typo, but i think i'll leave it) so a lot more people saw stuff i was able to post and share than would if they just got tired of visiting my cricket-infested webpages.
There are two kinda negative sides to all this, i think. The first is that while each of these social networks (Facebook, Deviant Art, Tumblr, etc) are quite large, they are in a way like a gated community. People have their favorite haunts that they tend to spend most of their time. It sorta feels like it has compartmentalized the internet a little bit too much, imho. The second thing has to do with what you have to do to reach everyone in this compartmentalized social networking age - you can't just post stuff to your homepage and know that people looking for your stuff will find it there. You have to set up shop in each of the various social networking enclaves you have readers/fans/followers. If i was a more organized person, i'd have a much better system for posting things cross-enclave. As it is now, i post some stuff here, some stuff there, the result being that people often miss some things i post. Since people usually hang out in several enclaves, you have to worry about spamming them too (i don't like the idea of bothering people too much). When done well, you can reach a lot of people and keep people pretty happy. If you flub it (which i am prone to doing) you will miss out on sharing your stuff with everyone.
I dunno, back in the 90s when i first got on the internet, i think the thing that was exciting was the idea that things could be in one place and everyone could find it there. That idea is a bit fractured these days, but i guess it was inevitable in a lot of ways. The net is vast, as they say, and content is not the problem - finding it is. Fredart was a PHP coded website that i did myself that was remarkably archaic - all of the data was handled with flat text files (no databases for me, hacking around with PHP was hard enough to get my head around) and it was a massive pain to update (i had to create a txt file with the data all in the right places, and the site would count the number of files in the directory to determine how many elements were in the gallery, for instance). It was kinda cool, but nothing like the things you can do with DA and stuff. The trick for the new Fredart site will be that i want it to be a go-to point where all the different places things get posted will be shown and organized properly. A place where i can start posting things, something idiot proof (a requirement) where i can start rambling on something (like this rant that sorta came out of nowhere) and be able to share it wherever i feel it should be shared.
I totally passed on Myspace when it was the thing, but i was an early adopter on Twitter and a begrudging user of Facebook (where i probably reach the most people with the Megatokyo facebook page) and i still have no idea how to use Tumblr properly (who does?). I still have no idea what im going to do with Google+, and like so many 'companies' you can only be active on so many social networks. For instance, what about the soup.io people? I have friends who use that, but i don't post anything there. It makes you want to tear your hair out sometimes, and frankly... i'd rather be drawing or writing than fiddling with this stuff. It used to take a long time to update fredart.com - editing text file, making thumbnails, uploading manually, etc. But now, having to cross post in so many places, i think it actually takes longer to post new artwork than it used to. Odd, really.
Finally, before i shut up, i'll note one other casualty of this social networking enclave thing - the web pages themselves. Now i know you can customize things like DA and Pixiv to an extent, but you are still working within a framework that is exactly the same across the network. Its sort of like the difference between an older neighborhood with lots of different kinds of houses that look different and unique vs. a gated community with rules about what your house can look like and what you can do in your front yard, etc. I'm a contrarian by nature, i guess, and i miss the fact that in the past most people had to cobble their own websites together. Sure, the results were often horrific, but they were still unique. It used to be a lot of fun perusing japanese websites looking for artwork. You can say that its much better this way because it's like seeing artwork on gallery walls and much easier to find and share them, and that you can still have your own website to present things in a creative way. Thing is, most people's experience of your work will be in these social networks, not on your website.
At least with Deviant Art and Pixiv and stuff, your art itself is your expression and says a lot about you. The site itself is tuned out, mostly, and your work is what people look at. Also, DA and Pixiv and the like are actually not bad to look at. The thing that really grinds me, though, is Facebook. Has it really happened that the way almost everyone these days presents themselves to the world is via a website that is really that... fuggly looking? Sure, myspace was hellish, but facebook is way too restrictive and ugly. But they didn't ask me about it, so what can you do.
i'll shut up now. Sheesh, i was just gonna write a quick 'blah blah here, im posting some more stuff' post and it turned into this. Maybe it should be a rant? I wonder where that button is that will cross-post this to the Megatokyo site and... oh, i don't have that yet. Maybe someday.