I am a strong proponent of people owning their own personal space on the internet. A space where they can express their interests and who they are as they see fit. (And preferably not owned by a social media giant.) But as a person who builds things on the internet for their profession, it’s easy to feel that my website should be a professional brand website for Piet the developer.
I’ve started various more personal projects but I kept them separate from this site, to keep it as my professional website. For a long time, I’ve struggled with this balance. On the one hand, I would love to represent myself better and be a little more personal and human. On the other hand, I feel pressure to maintain a professional brand.
I read an article recently that inspired me to rethink what content I produce for this space. The article was about how the ‘attention economy’ of social media platforms (Instagram in particular in this case), have forced artists to build a brand for their art that is tailored to be easily and quickly digestible. The author challenged artists not to lose their human side while building their professional brand. This paragraph caught my attention in particular:
When the system tries to hack you, why not try to hack it back? Rather than obtaining the perfect surface of your professional selfie, here it might be interesting to turn yourself into a more human creature again. Art has been full of those stories showing alternative ways, and while we adore these stories from the past we do tend more and more to annihilate those stories when they’re happening around us. […] Our ideas of professionalism have become distorted, as it only presents a surface of boxes that are checked to give an easy read.
~ Monika Senz. “(Your) Attention Please!” Pfeil Magazine #12, 33-34
This particularly resonated with me and my struggle to balance the professional and personal. Inspired by this, I am challenging myself to reclaim my space. Let it be me with all my interests and not just the developer’s brochure! I have interests in aircraft, running, keyboards, and making the odd field recording, to name a few.
My plan is to post a broader range of content along these lines that I feel better represents me. Hopefully, this means I actually produce some content more than a couple of times a year. Wish me luck!