I first began creating webpages back in the mid-90’s. I utilized the various website builders that existed until one day I decided it was time to learn HTML. I was never particularly good at it, but I could look at someone else’s code, and improve on it and that got me by with the random fan pages I created.
Other than a year working at an IT help desk for a government contractor, I didn’t pursue a career in technology. I was never an “IT guy”, I was more of a hobbyist (after my father watched a story on Dateline in the early 2000’s, I was branded a technosexual for years, which was beyond annoying). I enjoyed dabbling and have always been proficient with tech, but the idea of server management, coding, cybersecurity, and whatnot bores me. So, despite all the, “You’re so good at computers, you really should go into IT” I decided to keep my computing a hobby and not a career. It was probably for the best, because I loathe being the family “tech guy.”
I mention all of this because I’ve spent some time this week trying to decide how I wanted to proceed with my blog. I really love writing. I want to sink my feet down and get back to writing more regularly, and I want to foster more connections. But I found something was holding me back and has been for a while.
I decided to look at some of my favorite bloggers and see how they interact. Many of the bloggers I follow are members of the IndieWeb or at least fans of it. Many of them had Hello and Now pages and I thought it would be a good addition to my site. I changed the homepage from the blog to a static page, to create more of an old school website feel. Now, this site isn’t just a place to quickly grab info and leave, it’s something where you can slow down and click through. I like the idea of adding more pages in the future.
I experimented with this type of thing last year, when I created an all HTML site. I really liked it and hope one day to return to that format. I just couldn’t figure out how to create an RSS feed and that seemed to bum folks out. I get it, RSS is super convenient, and I use it a lot.
Recently, Colin discussed RSS and how the convenience factor plays a role in how we consume content and that really spoke to me. I have so many great bloggers I follow in my RSS, but I don’t connect with them enough. I don’t leave enough comments and even when I think about leaving a comment, I realize I’ll need to leave my RSS app, head over to the browser, possibly login and I get lazy, quickly. I mean, why not, I have fifteen other posts to read waiting for me.
One of the things that has slowed me down from trying to connect with other blogs is a feeling of imposture syndrome. It seems like the personal blogging world consists mainly of folks in the tech field. There are times I have to skim over posts or ignore them altogether, because quite frankly, I have no idea what they are talking about. However, between those posts, are great stories about life, hobbies, passion projects, and making and a better internet and that’s what I love to read about.
I think, in a way, I didn’t feel like my blog deserved to be linked by these other bloggers. I mean, what do I have to offer that they do? Random thoughts about losing weight, why I felt a desire to watch Tales from the Crypt last night, or how moving sucks?
How could I connect with folks when I spent half a year hearing about emac and I was so confused why people were so hyped up about Apple’s old computer? I can barely figure how to download something on Github. It’s almost like they exist in a gated community, and that made me feel like their attempts at creating a better world for personal blogging was doomed, because if I can’t even understand, how would my Mom?
Then it clicked… the internet I miss didn’t include my mom. It was a bunch of nerds, creating stuff, showing it off, and most of the time doing it for free for others to enjoy. It was almost like an exclusive club, where fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer shared banners with Roswell fans and even ran a side page about pro wrestling. The internet of the 90’s, was a weird little place, where we didn’t all have to understand each other’s fandoms and interests, but that didn’t stop us from sparking up a conversation, linking to one another, or making friends.
And that’s when I realized, I did belong. Sure, my posts aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Hell, sometimes, they aren’t even mine, but if I want to share, I can put it out there and folks who may be interested can engage. Those who aren’t, can ignore. That’s the beauty of the internet, at any given moment, you can move onto something new if you aren’t digging what you are reading.
I still have some work to do, and I’m still tinkering away a few minutes at a time, but I’ve decided I want to do my part to make the internet just a little bit better. I’m going to work on writing more and sharing more of the sites I enjoy. In-between my boring posts about trying to get healthier I’m going to try and highlight some blogs and links that I enjoy. I’m already working on making a much-improved Links page, because lets be honest, when’s the last time a search engine has given you a site that is really worth reading?
I’m still not so sure about joining the IndieWeb, because if I’m honest, it looks like a pain in the ass to do, but I’m going to put myself out there a bit more and stop holding back so much. I keep saying 2023 is gonna be my comeback year for my physical and mental health, I think it’s going to be for my digital health as well.