When I shaved off my beard on Halloween 2008, most people told me to stop frightening them and grow it back, which I promptly did for their sakes. So I am cautious about altering my appearance, including my virtual one.
Nevertheless, MEADOR.ORG has changed its appearance many times since it went online almost 15 years ago. For the first decade I called it Meador Manor and used a floorplan motif to organize it:
After a decade of handwritten HTML updates at the Manor and many other websites, I decided it was time to use online posting services to simplify my life. It was too much effort to hand-code new ‘musings’ on my personal website and various news items on my websites for the high school and the BEA. So I created the BHS News Feed and beaok.org on Google Sites. Then I broke off into separate websites my collection of information on Bartlesville history and various school items, keeping them as hand-coded customized sites.
Finally I closed the Manor entirely, redirecting MEADOR.ORG to the online Blogger service, focusing it on my personal interests:
That worked fine, but Blogger wasn’t keeping up with the times and was too slow to add social networking features. So I switched to WordPress, experimenting for awhile and settling on the three-column Garland theme:
And then Facebook came along. Hundreds of people befriended me there, so I knew I’d have to link it somehow to MEADOR.ORG. And thus I import my blog posts as ‘notes’ on my personal profile at Facebook and export my Facebook links and status updates to FriendFeed, where I can then export them to Twitter and MEADOR.ORG. That seems to work okay, although sometimes I have to refresh or rebuild the links to get things to update properly.
After Facebook added fan pages, I unsuccessfully tried to segregate my personal and professional life there by creating a public page where I stowed all of the Fluffy photos and the like. I still post science-oriented things on the public page and offer it as a link on my bhsphysics.org website, but most people still befriend me in my personal Facebook profile instead of simply ‘liking’ my public page.
Meanwhile, I was increasingly dissatisfied with my WordPress site, thinking it was too busy. But I couldn’t find another theme I liked better and so much more feedback came through the Facebook outlets that I didn’t pay much attention to updating the look of MEADOR.ORG. However, the recent Facebook privacy kerfuffle reminded me that having my content hosted on a public service where I have more control is important – I certainly don’t want Facebook as the sole mediator of my personal web presence.
So I took another look at the WordPress galleries and found the relatively new Enterprise theme. I liked how it focused more attention on the blog posts and its default setting had a second menu line composed not of permanent pages but instead of post categories. However, I did not care for its pop-up menus. So I took a deep breath and switched to that theme on MEADOR.ORG. Happily, I could use WordPress.com’s new Menu feature to customize both menus to my liking.
What next? I’m happy with MEADOR.ORG but confounded by Facebook. I make just about everything on my so-called personal profile there public, since it is obvious that you can’t trust Facebook to keep things private and folks keep befriending me there (630 and rising…). But my public Facebook page has 380 people on it who aren’t my Facebook friends, so I’ll hang onto that as well, which means I’m now maintaining more websites than I can count on both hands. That should be enough to keep me busy…