May was a little bit of a crazy month for us (which lately, EVERY MONTH SEEMS CRAZY.) so I overlooked something very important.
Okay, so not all that important.
But still. You guys. I’ve officially been blogging for 10 years.
I had purchased the domain name muted.com in 1999 with an online friend of mine (who I’ve since lost in the Sea of The Internets- I often wonder if she’s on Twitter somewhere…) We started the site way before blogs were A Thing. The web then was basically Hotmail, AOL, Amazon, and a bunch of weird teenagers and college kids who were bored and put random crap on their sites. And graphics they made in Paint.
I may have been one of them.
Our site consisted of all kinds of random surveys, some community-driven forums, a designated space for each of us to write our thoughts and update periodically (kind of like a blog! We were pioneers! Though this was done manually via a text editor and FTP, OH MAH GAH! SO OLD FASHIONED!), a creative art gallery of sorts with user-submitted photos, digital artwork, poetry, and short stories. We also had a kind of a unique feature we called ‘psychology test’, where we posted an inkblot image now and then and people would respond (via a horribly modified guestbook script- REMEMBER GUESTBOOKS???) with their thoughts of what they saw.
It was basically awesome. And awful.
After about a year of redesigning the thing every month (there are some ancient screenshots of some of the designs up on Flickr), my website buddy decided to take a leave from the web so I took over the site all by myself. Blogger had just started to emerge and ‘blogging’ was becoming The New Thing To Do Online so I jumped on the blogging bandwagon and after HOURS of messing with the clunky Blogger-to-server-FTP setup (because back then, Blogger was really just a way to publish static files to your own webserver and kinda-sorta had an archive functionality to it) I finally was able to post.
And… wow. Reading some of those old posts? I probably shouldn’t have wasted my time. Yikes.
In my defense, blogging back then was a lot different. Blogs weren’t so much personal journals of life events, not like they are now. It was all about sharing and posting links to interesting sites in short bits (which, in a way, is kind of how Twitter is today) So a lot of my early posts are just that- one or two sentences talking about a great site I found, a new design someone posted, or whatever. Journals were separate- I actually had an online journal for a few years before starting an official blog. Sadly (TOTALLY LYING), I don’t have those archives.
I’m willing to bet they were RIVETING.
My blog started out pretty impersonal and boring. But gradually I started posting more life-related things, longer, more thought-out stories (notice I didn’t say ‘WELL thought-out’ because… some of what I wrote makes me cringe. heh) It was all part of my journey as a blogger, though, and I am so so thankful that I have those archives to look back on.
And giggle a little bit.
I got engaged!
I got a job!
I graduated from college!
I bought my very first car! (we still have it, by the way.)
I shopped for wedding dresses!
I took a break to married! (and talked a lot about some geeky site-stuff instead of SHARING WEDDING PICTURES. What kind of blogger WAS I???)
We bought a house!
I started freelancing as a web designer!
I struggled with wanting to quit my job and freelance full time!
Instead of quitting, I got a NEW job!
I ended my blog at muted.com in the summer of 2005. I moved to Livejournal for about 2.5 seconds before purchasing a new domain, jayesel.net (those of you who have asked: it’s pronounced just like that: jay-es-el- otherwise known as my initials: J. S. L.) At that point, I was four years out of college and had just switched careers from being a research scientist to being a web designer and I was having a bit of a quarter-life crisis. So I guess I just wanted a new identity online as well.
Quite a few of you have been my ‘friends’ since those early days at muted.com- even before the blog! It’s hard to believe sometimes how YOUNG we all were then! I was a junior in college, just turned 21. Some of you I knew then were still in HIGH SCHOOL, my GOSH. And now a lot of us who are still around in the blogosphere are married with jobs and houses and kids and a Grown Up Life… but somehow, we’re still blogging. And Twittering. And Facebooking. And keeping in touch. AND MEETING IN PERSON.
Wow. Ten years. That’s a lot of crappy blog posts, man. But it’s also a lot of learning, a lot of sharing, and a lot of friendships made. I don’t know what made me create that first website at Geocities in 1998, the one with the black background and white text and blinking marquee and the ridiculously obnoxious ANIMATED GIFS, but I’m glad I did it. It eventually led me to the career I have now, which I adore. It has connected me with so many wonderful people and ideas over the years. And now, it gives me a way to record my journey of parenthood.
And post cute pictures of my kid.
So really, when people say the Internet is Bad For Us, I beg to differ.