On July 14, my website turns 20. Happy birthday, sweetie.
Even before blogs or social networks existed, I felt the urge to share my thoughts on the web and to interact with people using this new magic medium. I started playing around with WYSIWYG using Netscape Composer and launched a website, which – although in different forms – has been part of my life ever since. For exactly half of my life now, I’m excited about the web and its possibilities.
Although the site’s first version was a rather cluttered page – including photo gallery, link directory (!), classmate index, animated GIFs, weird articles like the German Döner Award, etc. – it changed my life completely because it was also my first experience with design and typography (on the occasion of this site’s 10th anniversary, I dived into this somewhat more). This, however, made me realize where I wanted to head towards professionally (you can find a lot more about that journey in the about section). Because of that, my personal website still has a special place in my heart.
To celebrate the anniversary, it’s getting some updates. So what’s new?
Most of the time the site was named Fontwerk. From now on, it will be known as ivo.berlin (gabrowitsch.de works, too). The former name will be re-used for another exciting project soon. I’ll provide more background on this later – right here.
For the first years of the Berliner Typostammtisch, this website also served as the event’s site, but my nice successors managed what I never found time for: they built a separate one. Hence I deleted those articles along with most others. I only kept those posts that aged well, which actually were much less than expected.
My plan is to keep this site alive for another 20 years and to update it occasionally with whatever comes to mind. I will do this either in English or in German (or both?), depending on what I think works best for each topic. I do know this is not a perfect solution, but this ain’t the place where perfectionism will happen.
With all the GDPR hassle in mind I also switched off comments. Although I like to communicate and to get direct feedback, I will keep this site as simple and straight as possible. If you want to get in touch with me anyway, check out the button at the upper right corner. If you happen to have an idea how to integrate a comment function without the need to have a lawyer involved, I’m all ears.
Social Media is dead. Personal websites are back again.
Recently, I thought a lot about the current state of the web. I used to love social media, particularly Twitter. Yet I have the feeling social channels became places of negativity, distrust, even of hate. Plus they are full of advertising and weird algorithms nowadays. Algorithms that you can’t control anymore, instead they try to control you. Others feel the same, a few of the opinions that got me thinking on this matter lately include the following:
The playful, connecting and inspiring web we had moved into an commercial nightmare. […] For me the past felt like people defined the Internet. Today brands define the same thing I used to like.
The web is not lost. The friendships are not lost. The positivity and excitement that we once all had is not lost. It's time for a new beginning.
I finally realised one important thing about my personal site. It does not have to be impressive, beautiful, feature-complete, raise attention. It just has to be there. A small digital home. I will try to never get stressed about it again.
The primary objective still is to have a place to express ourselves, to explore ourselves, a place that lasts while the daily storms pass by. A place of consideration, and yes, a place of proudly sharing what we do, what we think, and what we care about. A place to contribute your voice and help others. A home on the internet. A place to tell your story.
I could not have said this better, therefore I recommend to read those smart guys’ thoughts and to also watch Tantek Çelik’s recent Beyond Tellerrand presentation. They inspired me to eventually finish my own site’s relaunch. I’d love to see the same happening by you.
Let us take our web back.