Last year when I was helping organize BarCamp Madison 2011 I was busy getting the website set up. I set up a WordPress site and planned on getting modules installed to handle registrations and session tracking. Before I even got a chance to do anything other members of the group set up an eventbrite event for registrations, a google moderator site set up for session tracking, a google wave set up for organizer communication and there was already a google group for community communication.
Instead of taking the time to build up value in our web property, they scattered our brand and functionality all over the internet. Have people given up on the concept of web ownership?
It's one thing if you're technologically unsavvy and have no other way to piece together the functionality you need, but these were the Madison tech-elite! Why would they do such a thing? One person actually said something to the extent of "Do people actually have websites anymore?"
Am I the only person left who thinks it's a good thing to create a strong web presence? To stake out your own space and build it up? When we were promoting the event where should someone link to? Obviously it should be http://www.barcampmadison.org/ but if someone wanted to link to the registration page they would link to EventBrite and we would lose that link.
When we have BarCamp this year I hope to be prepared with all the functionality on the BarCamp website. Otherwise will we be able to reuse the registration link from last year or is that tied to the old event? Will we be able to easily clear out the ideas on the old Google Moderator site?
My girlfriend uses Facebook as her primary form of online communication. Is this any better? I own the domain andrewshell.org and I own my e-mail address at that domain. Right now it's being hosted by Google, but if I wanted to get off that tomorrow I could set up my own e-mail server, point my e-mail address at the new server and nothing changes. If my girlfriend gets off of facebook what will happen? People will either continue to send her messages on facebook, or if she deletes her account they won't know how to reach her.
On the internet it's important to own your content. Please don't give away your freedom. Dave Winer has the right idea with his new minimal blogging tool. It's OK to publish to twitter, it's just not OK to publish in twitter.
Published February 18, 2011