A New Beginning
This is the website I always wanted to have.
When I registered the domain name "Lextext.com" back in March, 1999, I chose the "text" part of the name deliberately. Although it's hard to remember now, in 1999 bandwidth was a limiting factor on the consumption of Internet-based content. Designers were pushing the limits of what they could do online, but the consequence of their innovation was that download times were a pain for most users like me. When I decided to start writing on the web about Internet law and policy, I knew I wanted to do so in a way that was clear, clean and fast. I was a big fan of text based sites like Scripting.com, Suck.com and tbtf.com, and I tried to model what I was doing around their pioneering work. Twelve years later, a single column of text is still my aesthetic.
Welcome to my new writing place. It looks a lot like my original writing place, and so it is only fitting that it shares the same domain name.
What this very deliberately isn't though is a blog. This site will have no RSS feed, no comments or trackbacks, no "share" buttons. If you want to know when I have written something new, you can follow me on twitter, or just check back regularly.
The big thing about the new Lextext though is that it has no archives.
This is the only page where I will write about whatever it is I want to say. If I post something new next week, the site will be different. What I wrote before will be gone. You can think of Lextext as my personal Internet chalkboard. I may write something today, but when it's time to say something new, I'll erase what is here to make room for the new idea.
In that way, this is like a conversation. In real life, the conversations we have with each other don't live forever. We have conversations, take what we need from them, and then remember them, or not. Or maybe we misremember them. That's okay too. You're entitled to misremember what I have written here.
I would have thought differently about archives if I were writing something designed to be helpful to a broad audience for a long period of time. That was never my weblog. When I was blogging daily, which I did for seven years, I was writing about evolving policy at ICANN and on the Internet generally. Those posts were meant to be part of specific conversations. When those conversations ended, the posts should have had a way to expire.
If I were were planning to use the new Lextext to post recipes or product reviews, or prayers, I'd probably have archives. Who couldn't use a good prayer? Instead, this will be the same old stuff I was writing about before, and ICANN and Internet policy posts shouldn't have to live forever.
Another thing I learned from years of blogging is that the primary utility of archives is as a search engine driver of traffic. If you're not placing advertisements on your site and not trying to sell people who don't know you on something you have to offer, you don't need the search traffic. For me, online writing was never about the number of readers I had; it was about who those readers were. If I was only ever reaching the people in my community of involvement, that was fine. They were the people I intended to reach.
If you're reading this now, you're one of those people I want to engage in my conversation. Thank you for reading my weblog then and thank you for coming back now. You never needed the comment form on my old blog to engage me. The best replies always came by email, on your own blogs, or, now, by twitter. We don't need comment forms to engage each other. I look forward to the new conversation, in whatever form we have it.
After a few years away from the online keyboard, I have a lot to say. From why blogging is broken (and blogging tools in general too) to ICANN, Internet governance, the IANA rebid and new gTLDs. I won't be writing daily. There are now many very good sites that break the news about ICANN and domain names. They do it better than I ever did. When I do write though, I'll try to make it worth your while.
Thanks for coming back.
-- Bret Fausett, Friday, October 7th.
Comments welcome. You know how to reach me.
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