He Hacked My Website

Jared Smith found my community when we were both teenagers. He got to see me early in my career. He became a great contributor to the community, as well as a moderator. He also hacked my website.

In high school, he couldn’t find any other Van Halen fans, so he joined an online community. That took him down a road that led to him co-authoring 2005’s Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress, and building a career. Plus:

  • phpBB’s insularity problem, that helped create an opportunity for Jared
  • The shift away from chronological order online
  • Russia’s manipulation of opinions online, through online communities and social spaces

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Big Quotes

“I would have a very hard time finding somebody that’s my age who’s working on the web that didn’t do something with GeoCities. A part of me died when they shut that down. All good things must come to an end.” -@jaredwsmith

“Life is not lived in slices. It’s not lived out of order unless you’re on something very interesting. Life is not lived in different time slices of different periods. It is lived in chronological order.” -@jaredwsmith

“Anonymous speech is still the most important speech that we should protect on the internet, because for people who are legitimately trying to speak out from regimes that are oppressive, they need the ability to stay anonymous. We need anonymous whistleblowers to do the right thing and speak up. Speak truth to power while giving them the option of keeping them self-protected.” -@jaredwsmith

About Jared Smith

Jared Smith is a development team lead at BoomTown in Charleston, SC, where he specializes in engineering on the company’s WordPress-based consumer sites. He brings over ten years experience with the WordPress platform to BoomTown, providing subject matter expertise not only within the development team but also throughout the company.

In whatever time there is left, Jared runs @chswx on Twitter. @chswx is the most-followed Charleston-specific weather source in the Lowcountry, and works closely with local media and the National Weather Service to ensure that critical weather information gets disseminated with as little hype and as much substance as possible.

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Transcript

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