Exposure. That's what it is about. Although the impetus to build a personal web site can spring out of many different needs or motivations, I think the underlying force at play is always that basic necessity of manifesting ourselves, of ascertaining our own existence.
But I will spare you further analysis of web-based primal screams, enough is to acknowledge the fact that the process of crafting together a personal site gives away more than it may seem at first glance. In my case, the decision to start it all occured almost like on a whim.
My first flirt with the web goes back to 1994. At that time, I was residing in Brussels, looking for ways to expand a modest career in journalism that had taken off in Jerusalem, from which I had just returned. I approached several media groups in Belgium, discovering an uninviting world where rigidity and mercantilism prevailed. But it was also the time of the announcement of the digital revolution, and, intrigued, I resorted to delve into techniques of electronic publishing.
My first electronic scream into the world came in the shape of a BBS specialized in new music. It was called Dialectrique, and it dispatched tidbits of information on recording artists and labels. It was one of the first of its kind, but it died the slow and sure death of most home-based, niche bulletin boards. A web site and a home-based company by the same name took the following, and I spent the next two years fighting for its subsistence, as well as mine. I learned many things during that period, the most painful being probably my mediocrity in entrepeneurship.
But I had acquired some skills with computers, like system maintenance and programming, which allowed me to find a job in Amsterdam just in time, before the advent of serious financial troubles. I was straying further from my original likings, not journalism per se, but culture and the written word in general. I did not know what conclusion to draw from this observation, but I felt distressed, aware that something was wrong indeed.
It took some time before I started straightening things out. But eventually I did. And then the idea of this site came, like I said, almost on a whim. Together with the resolution to make something genuine out of it. Something proper, something personal. I will let others rate my success at doing so. As for me, I'm heading for a sweat.