Blogs as Public Billboards

First seen over at Raul Gutierrez’ Heading East, this Tim Berners-Lee quote on the role of the home page from 1996 or so seems to come from an interview with Rohit Khare and DC Denison:

With all respect, the personal home page is not a private expression; it’s a public billboard that people work on to say what they’re interested in. That’s not as interesting to me as people using it in their private lives. It’s exhibitionism, if you like. Or self-expression. It’s openness, and it’s great in a way, it’s people letting the community into their homes. But it’s not really their home. They may call it a home page, but it’s more like the gnome in somebody’s front yard than the home itself. People don’t have the tools for using the Web for their homes, or for organizing their private lives; they don’t really put their scrapbooks on the Web. They don’t have family Webs. There are many distributed families nowadays, especially in the high-tech fields, so it would be quite reasonable to do that, yet I don’t know of any. One reason is that most people don’t have the ability to publish with restricted access.

It’s an interesting, yet now fairly obvious idea: blogs as signalling.



2 responses to “Blogs as Public Billboards”

  1. My family has a blog that we use to communicate. We’re hardly high-tech, and we don’t live very far apart, but we are what people would describe as “close-knit,” I think, and we use our blog to coordinate family outings, birthday parties, etc. My guess is that there are millions of other families doing the same thing.

  2. tim

    So much of what Berner’s-Lee said back then is prescient and seemingly obvious now. Fun to try to put yourself in the mindset of what the web looked like then.