The mighty Zeldman has written a thought-provoking piece called The Vanishing Personal Site which chronicles the changing nature of personal publishing. Where once we had a central URL that defined our online presence, people are increasingly publishing in fragments distributed across services like Twitter, Pownce, Flickr and Magnolia. It was this fragmentation that spurred my first dabblings with APIs to produce Adactio Elsewhere which I did three years ago to the day.
Jeff takes a different approach by incorporating all of those other publishing points directly back into his site rather than a separate aggregation area. This approach seems to be gaining ground.
One of the comments to Jeffrey’s post points to the newly launched website of the architect Denna Jones built in part by Jon Tan who describes the thinking behind it. The site is driven entirely by third-party services like Tumblr, Del.icio.us and Flickr. Jon, by contrast, has his third-party publishing aggregated on a page called Asides, similar to Adactio Elsewhere.
I think most people, even if they are micro-publishing in many places, still have one URL that they consider as their online representation. It might be a blog, it might be a Flickr profile, or for many people, it might be a Facebook account.
It will be interesting to watch these trends develop. Something else I’m going to watch is Jon Tan’s website. It’s dripping with gorgeous typography wrapped in an elastic layout. How is that I haven’t come across this site before? Why wasn’t I informed?