Welcome to my new home on the internets – jark dot me. Over the course of the past few years I have had a very inconsistent web presence strategy. I started out with jarkolicious.com, then moved to tumblr without a personal domain, followed by TechMiso, and then finally landed over at scott.jarkoff.com. Now here I am once again. All that uncertainty ends today. (Image courtesy of Brian Scantlebury)
For one reason or another I was unable to stay comfortable in any of those places for any length of time. Looking back I think my time with tumblr was where I felt the most out-of-place. It just does not feel like the right place for long-form blogging even though some folks thrive there without issue.
That all changes today with the “official” launch of jark.me. This is where I will write and post thoughts designed to be read by the public at-large. I have migrated back to WordPress, my CMS of choice even though I really do adore tumblr as a simplistic, intuitive blogging platform. I will continue to use tumblr for sites like screenphuck, which is where it really excels: image sharing.
In the coming days I plan to deactivate jarkolicious.com, scott.jarkoff.com, and a few others, just to ensure there is no confusion about my home. Ambiguity does nobody any good, especially folks looking for my [hopefully quality] content.
One of my main concerns with self-hosting a blog using WordPress was resiliency. I believe I have tackled that problem by way of an outstanding WordPress caching plug-in: W3 Total Cache. Although WP Super Cache is a great product, W3 Total Cache met a number of my needs in a single package.
Not only does the plug-in appear to do an excellent job at limiting the amount of required dynamic calls to the WordPress database, but it also has built-in support for content delivery networks. The long and short of it is this: I can host all the images on a CDN like Amazon S3, rewrite the URL’s to appear as if they are coming from i.jark.me (keeping my site branding), and ultimately save resource and bandwidth utilization on our server. It is a win-win, and will especially pay off if the site starts to see some traction.
Social Network Use?
Although I am calling this my new home, I will continue to post an immense amount of stupidity on Facebook on a regular basis. The privacy controls Facebook offers allows me to target content to a certain group of close friends and family who I enjoying sharing funny and weird shit with. That will not change. Some content is better kept among friends.
In addition to Facebook, I use, and will continue to do so, a number of social networking sites. My participation all over the internets will stay the same. In fact, it may increase and I might be writing about new and exciting web sites I locate throughout the bowels of the web. I love playing with new web apps, social networks and other fun sites. Rest assured I am going nowhere.
Outside of Governmental Crosshairs
One of the byproducts of moving off of the .com domains – and by extension any of the .net and .org domains I also own – is the inability for the U.S. government to simply ask VeriSign to hand over my property, effectively silencing my freedom of speech. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. government has gone to painstaking lengths to assert their ability to seize .com domains at will, prohibiting free speech for no other reason than mere entertainment industry paybacks. A more recent Department of Justice opinion goes even farther, stipulating the government is authorized to seize any domain ending in .com, .net, .cc, .tv and .name, because “foreign-based registrars are not bound to comply with U.S. court orders.”
The fact that this site is not using one of those domain suffixes may prove to be beneficial in the long-term. There is just too much uncertainty with intellectual property policing these days, especially with Obama at the helm of our government.
Commenting and Community
After thinking about this for a long time, I have opted to disallow commenting on jark.me. I fought with myself over the pros and cons of opening up commenting, but ultimately decided the amount of work to moderate and nurture a commenting community here on jark.me is not worth the effort. It is a lot of work – both manual and automated – with very little reward. Allowing insightful discussion is immensely difficult. It is a whole lot easier for people to act like complete assholes while hiding behind a keyboard and monitor. It is so much easier for a troll to post a comment on third-party web sites rather than write-up a thoughtful, well articulated response on their own site. Here are some other thoughts on this subject.
Lastly, I have some milestones for the site that I would like to realize. I will be as transparent as possible about my vision for jark.me in another post, but the bottom line is this: I want to get the site to a place where it is paying for itself rather than me coming out of pocket for hosting expenses. This should be fairly easy to do, but it means I need to double-down, and focus on providing quality content to get to that plateau. More to come.
These are some interesting times for everyone, but I have never been more excited than I am today. I look forward to seeing where things go from here.