Social Media Killed the Family Website
For the first time in 15 years, my family doesn't have a website to call their own. In January 2000, I registered the domain Bryansplace.com. This was the first website I ever built outside of work and it became a sandbox for me to express my interests as well as a way to seek personal growth. From handwritten HTML pages into Frontpage to a number of CMSs, the software and content at Bryansplace evolved as my life evolved.
Bryansplace.com was the website where my girlfriend and I announced our marriage to the world. As a married couple, we eventually publicly announced the birth of our son via the site. This domain was the site where I talked about camping, computers, and my latest beer recipes. It wasn't all about me either. My wife showcased her photography for the first time online via Bryansplace. This was also the website my son learned how to navigate the Drupal content management system and talk about his gaming skills. Bryansplace.com was synonymous with "family news". Despite how much I valued the domain, last week I unceremoniously killed the website.
During the past couple years I only kept our family website around for nostalgic reasons. The only remaining purpose it served was as a means for my son to develop his Internet social "filters" under the watchful eye of Dad. But the signs were all there that it was time to move on. Friends, family, and grandparents today are now participating on Facebook and see little need to stop by the old website. People that once swore to me they would never join an online social network joined Facebook faster than I could say "visit my website". I'm not a fan of Facebook (I prefer Twitter and Google+) but I grudgingly admit that Facebook is a great medium to keep family and friends informed. Not all is lost though. The Ruby's, defenders of the last remaining family websites, still get the last laugh.
Instead of a single website my family members now manages and runs their own individual websites. While Bryansplace.com is dead, three more websites have replaced it. I've moved most of my personal musings once found on Bryansplace.com over to BryanRuby.com. My wife, Karen, has moved her photography work over to Dakota Imagery (using WordPress). Finally, my son has a gaming website of his own (using Drupal) that for now this protective dad would like to keep secret. It's going to take a lot more than social media to take these sites down because they fulfill a purpose not duplicated elsewhere.
So goodbye Bryansplace.com. I knew you too well which is why it was time to pull the plug on your domain.