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When I was first getting into computers, the BBS was the "internet" of the day, and it was confined to your local area. If you were lucky, you had big pockets and could afford the phone bills to call out to other systems, or just decided to eat my "double credits" by accessing the 800 number line (MetroBBS was well worth it).
So when the Internet was just starting to come to the masses, the entire world became your neighborhood. This was insanely cool, and even cooler still was to have your own niche of this wide world of 1s and 0s out there. GeoCities and AngelFire were just getting off the ground, and they were Ad-laden and didn't you do lots of then.
No, the key was to get your own domain name and hosting space out there. Then you could setup your own digital cottage, stick up a sign welcoming visitors to sit and enjoy some conversation, and even let them see what you're working on in the workshop. Some places you found were massive and amazing. Some were simply and cozy. But it was your own place, free (within reason) to do so as you see fit.
As I was finishing college. I did just that. Domains and hosting was getting reasonable enough for the average person interested in their own digital plot, and I had picked up the nickname Dillie-O (odd story for another time) as my college career was coming to an end. I wanted to focus a little on the "internet" side of things, so the domain dillieodigital.net was born. A little odd to spell, but easy enough to remember, and most importantly, I liked it and though it had a bit of "me" worked into it.
That's how the cottage and thrived since then. I've done a smidge of webhosting from it. I've had countless projects running out of the workshop over the years. Some of them even made it to their own space for a while as well. While the cottage itself hasn't always looked the tidiest (I had an old free template that didn't render well on modern browsers, I've always been around for a quick e-mail, or to hold some digital packages for folks since I had the space.
So I guess to some extent, the domain name is a digital extension of me. That's pretty cool and potentially scary at the same time, but there is a good amount of "me" (programming time, skills, ideas, thoughts) that I've put out into that place and have tried to be as open as possible in that regard. I have no need to try and use a different persona out there (minus the nickname) so it seems very natural at time as well.
What about you? What's a domain name to you? Just an easy place to find your blog, or something else?