Cat Zeng

Why I think Flairr is important

The internet is very important because everyone uses it a lot every day. But… your average person can’t code! So it’s very hard for them to make a personal website.

This means that everyone is forced to use toxic platforms instead of making a website that they are proud of, have control over, and can easily update.

My goals at Flairr:

  1. Create an awesome tool that allows anyone to make (AND UPDATE) their own personal website
  2. Make the internet more fun

My personal experience

In high school, but I wanted a personal website very badly. I didn’t know how to code. I didn’t know what a server is… or a DNS. I had no idea how to get started.

So I bought a hosted solution on BlueHost and used Wordpress to set up a blog, which was fine but I didn’t really feel like the site was mine. 3 years later, I finally learned how to modify Wordpress enough to make it mine. However, there were still problems: managing child themes was a pain, updating Wordpress sucked, and I was getting hacked all the time.

Later I learned how to code and then set up a static website and served it from a MIT server. But this website was very hard to update since any new “post” involved copying and pasting lots of HTML.

Finally my freshman summer of college, I discovered Github pages which let me make a static website using Jekyll, which is a templating engine. This is the website you are seeing today, which used to be on, which I have now remade on Flairr. In other words, I finally has a website I was proud of… after four years of trying!

I think that’s super problematic because if it took me four years of trying… and after becoming a COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR AT MIT(!!!)… then how is a non-cs major supposed to make their own website…

Finally… is hard to update because I have to block out time to transfer all my media to my computer and work on my website on my laptop.

Zack and I have designed Flairr to fix these problems by making it easy to make a website, host it on Flairr, and update from your phone.

The internet should be more fun!!!

I used to spend a lot of time on the internet as a kid in the 2000s because the internet was awesome. There were infinite flash games to play, and Stumbleupon take you to random sites. I used to make pet pages on Neopets using HTML and CSS. Self-hosted personal website were everywhere… and they were WACKY.

Now the internet is boring…. A lot of the fun is concentrated on a handful of websites, mostly social media websites… such as Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, whose goal is to get your attention so they can sell ads. Flash games are gone, Google is full of Top 10 lists that are full of ads.

I believe that if ordinary human beings can make websites more easily, then the web would be more lively. And there will be more soul. So if everyone can make websites, then I would have a lot more fun surfing the internet, and the internet would be more fun!