Ben Dodson

Freelance iOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV Developer

Cleaning Up My Web Presence

I’ve been running BenDodson.com for 6 years. It originally started as a website to showcase my portfolio whilst doing some freelance work and slowly grew into a blog about web development, coding, and eventually iOS and general Apple speculation. Last year, I decided I wanted to split out into having separate personal and professional websites and so the content was moved to BenDodsonApps.com and this site became a standard Wordpress blog for me to post various bits and pieces that interested me.

The problem is that I’ve never really liked it.

Wordpress is too bloated for what I need and was only chosen because it’s easy to get templates for it. I haven’t updated the blog in ages purely because I don’t like the layout or design and couldn’t build up the enthusiasm to change it when I had far more pressing things to do. A few days off at Christmas seemed like the perfect opportunity to change that so today I’ve built the new BenDodson.com; I’ve ditched Wordpress for a static HTML 5 site compiled from Markdown files with Jekyll (read more about it on my about page) and the design has been stripped back to be purely about the text. In addition, all previous content has been removed (my very old posts are still available on BenDodsonApps.com) so that I can have a clean break on a new weblog. It’s intended to be a place for longer posts on topics that interest me (everything from why I hate android to why I love LEGO) as well as a place for interesting links.

Before I started on the new site, I sat down and took stock of all the places that I have a “web presence” with a view to working out a better way to do things going forward.

The current line up (and proposed plan) is as follows:

Personal (Private)

  • Facebook - A necessary evil and a way to stay in touch with family and close friends. If I haven’t met you in person, you won’t be on my Facebook.
  • Day One - My private journal.

Personal (Public)

  • BenDodson.com - This website, a personal blog devoted to the topics that interest me.
  • App.net (@BenDodson) - Microblog that I’ll use to post random thoughts (and links) to on an increasingly infrequent basis.
  • Twitter (@BenDodson) - This will simply syndicate whatever is on App.net but it’s a good way for people to get in touch. I expect to stop using Twitter by the end of 2013 in favour of App.net.
  • Instagram - I stopped using Flickr a while back (and I don’t have a decent camera so it’ll stay deactivated for a while) so this is a good stopgap for sharing photos taken from my phone.
  • Foursquare - I’m planning on deactivating this as I don’t share my location much these days. Maybe 2013 will be the year that I finally build the Gowalla successor that everyone has asked me to. We’ll see.

Business

  • BenDodsonApps.com - My professional website with my portfolio and work-orientated blog. Will be getting an update soon.
  • TubeUpdates.com - My TubeUpdates API. Might discontinue this at some point soon as TfL provide something similar these days.
  • WikiLocation.org - My WikiLocation API. No plans to discontinue this as it doesn’t take up much of my time.
  • Twitter (@BenDodsonApps) - I’ve not posted anything on this for months but may start it up again as @BenDodson becomes more personal.
  • Twitter (@WikiLocation) - Yet another Twitter account that doesn’t get many posts (mainly because WikiLocation doesn’t get updated very often). I think this will get merged into @BenDodsonApps.

That’s quite a lot of accounts and I’m sure I’m missing some of the other things that I’ve stopped using like Last.fm, Flickr, and Tumblr. This also doesn’t include all of the WallaBee social sites that I run such as Twitter (one for the app, one for the APIs), App.net, Google+, Facebook, and Tumblr.

One of the things I’ve noticed most over the past 6 years is that people really don’t give a shit about what other people are doing; they think that people care about what they’re doing though. The ‘lifestream’ was all the rage when I started this site and I naively signed up for every new service and posted everything I was doing in the misguided belief that people actually bothered reading it. As we come to the end of 2012, I’ve realised that there is far too much crap on the internet that I just don’t care about, and I’ve been adding to it by checking in on everything from places to music to wine and everything inbetween. That’s why I’ve taken a good look at my web presence and attempted to strip it back to work and pleasure. Microblogging is going on the back burner and I’ll be partaking in a lot less “social” networking.

From now on, BenDodson.com will be a more wordy diary type affair with entries that reflect my mood and opinion. We’ll see how long it lasts…

Dryathlon » « iPhone apps on the new iPad