I’ve run an online community for nearly a decade now – and many spin-offs and other projects & even job opportunities have been the result of what I’ve learned while working on my websites.
I started everything when I was 18, with the help of a few friends in the college dorms at ETBU back in 2001, and from there things grew exponentially by word of mouth, until at its peak we had most of Nacogdoches High School in Nacogdoches, TX on the website. There were users in about 7 different countries, all over the United States, and it was the start of the Social Networking concept.
Myspace came along, and then Facebook, and now things have slowed down quite a bit, as everyone has grown up and moved on with their life. The site is still home to a dedicated few that host their Journals there (which we started before the invention of blogging software).
But I find myself less and less interested in keeping up with it – and it’s a little sad after all thoughts I’ve posted on it, the ideas that others have contributed that changed the course of my life, all the long nights writing code, and just many days at work coming up with ideas & features. That huge time investment is also the reason I’m not all that crazy about re-investing so much time into getting it going again.
The site was cutting edge for its time, and we were on the forefront of the popular technologies before they were popular (video casts, podcasts, internet radio, blogging, social networking, etc). It was quite literally The Spot you wanted to be, and we put a lot of effort into making the atmosphere of the community match that branding.
These days I’m interested in learning new things (as many of the old things I’ve built most of my sites around are being phased out). Myspace is all but gone from the minds of many internet socialites, and Facebook is reaching its Myspace pinnacle. In another 2 years, it will have gone by the wayside just as Myspace did. Twitter is also growing much faster than it expected, and as it keeps evolving out of what it originally was by adding new features, the simplicity of its design will live on, but in another application most likely.
As such, I’m considering finally implementing a domain I’ve held on to for a long time – the-blot.net, and the-blot.com – which were originally intended to be a one-stop blogging service where you can post to any of your blogs, and also read from any of your friends blogs all in one place. That idea was solved in part by Google Reader and Ping.fm’s posting abilities.
So instead of making it just about your blogs, I am going to grab the alpha version of the Diaspora project and start up another social networking site to see what kinds of technology are being implemented in the next generation of social clustering sites. I’m going to have to build a new Linux server & redirect my domains, as well as compile their website codes, so all of this could take a while (as I have to salvage several different computer parts for the server). But as I transition to new technologies, I’ll keep track of the changes here, just as I did when I upgraded the-spot.net from the early days of the static html tsnII to the cutting edge dynamic tsnIII back in 2004.