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I’ve Been Blogging For 15 Freaking Years

(After reading Jessica Hagy's “I’ve been blogging for 8 freaking years,” I felt like writing a post of my own. Maybe not as profound, but I’ve learned a thing or two.)

In the beginning, there were tilde (~) sites, little corners of the World Wide Web, tracts of digital land where a claim could be staked with a handful of broken HTML and some Javascript for spice. Keep a diary, but know you’ll be keeping it by hand. Put some photos online, but make sure they’re not too slow to load. Dither-dither-dither. Audio is a maybe, even with RealAudio. And video wasn’t really an option.

But it was yours. A virtual home. Invite people over to look. Give them that long and unwieldy URL, something with the word Mindspring in the address, and smile nervously as that little borrowed visitor counter ticked up by one. By two. Was that a third?

Get a Flickr account and make uploading those photos a little easier. Embed a slideshow from your trip to Europe.  

Get a LiveJournal account.  

Install Gray Matter.  Moveable Type.  Blogger.  WordPress.  The platforms kept evolving and the process became easier and easier. Self-hosting was no longer required. You didn’t need to know how to do, you just needed to want to do … 

A thing as simple as show & tell in grade school.


So what have I learned?

Some will notice what you say. Most will not. 
Decide which is more important: saying something or being heard. 

You thought you were weird. Embrace that. 
There are others far weirder. Embrace that as well. 

Express yourself in many directions.
Write, draw, record, make a video, shoot photos. Bake cookies. Make string art. Collect small figurines. Whatever it is that you do, it can be shared, shared easily and shared well.

You can create and look pretty good doing it.
Tumblr is just Livejournal with better typography and presentation. And that’s okay.

You will be discouraged. It will seem like nobody is listening.
Often, they just aren’t. People are busy. Even your friends. And that’s okay. And yet …

That thing you like that you think nobody understands?  
Someone else understands. And they want to talk with you about it, because …

Being on the Internet means you are a part of a massive community.
There are communities within that community, and you will find homes in those communities.

There used to be Internet Friends and Real-Life Friends.
More and more, those are just becoming Friends.

Same goes for Family.  

Your people are out there.
Find them.

Your future is out there.
Go to it. Because …

Being on he Internet means the things you do for fun might become the things you do for a living.
I get paid to make the Internet work better. When I graduated with college in 1994, I would’ve never imagined such a job was possible. Which brings us to …

Amazing things have happened.
And even more amazing things are coming.

But most importantly, the Internet isn’t a race.
The Internet isn’t something you can win. After 15 years of leaping from technology to technology, chasing platforms and often mistaking timeliness for relevance, what I’ve learned is that what you create is the only thing that matters. Everything else is just a vehicle, a means of publication, of sharing and collaborating.  

Showing and telling.

Filed under blogging 15 years jessica nagy