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my blogging road

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.

My first blog post was on May 21, 2000.

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.

Some highlights:

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.

27 Comments

  1. Crissy
    @Crissy

    OMG, I have been thinking about doing a post like this for the past week or so. I’ve been writing online (not officially “blogging” I guess) since like 1996, on an angelfire site, haha. As you KNOW, I’ve had a million online projects since then. :)

    Been a long time!

    Jun 21 5:11 pm


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      ANGELFIRE! Holy crap totally forgot about that one. ha I’m both sad and thankful that the internet has changed since then ;)

      haha and yes you HAVE had a ton of sites! Episodic, was that you?

      Jun 21 5:24 pm


  2. I absolutely love reading about how people got started! It was fun to read through those old posts. It’s reminders like this that I think I need to keep going, maybe just to say, “I remember when…”

    Jun 21 5:15 pm


  3. That’s a great story grandma! Tell us again what it was like back with FTP!

    (I kid because I love)

    I’m glad you’ve stuck around lady.

    Jun 21 5:15 pm


  4. Becca
    @beccasanborn

    I totally remember the psychology test thing because I’m pretty sure I did it at one point…

    Oh the glory days… I really wish I would have kept some of my older stuff because ah man, the teenage years!

    I actually have paper journals from those years though, maybe I should go through some of those? :)

    I remember when you got engaged because I remember watching the video Dan secretly took of it.. :) I also remember that everyone put up pictures and stuff on your door at college when it happened and I so waited for that to happen to me, but alas, differences in colleges I guess? lol

    Jun 21 5:18 pm


  5. Melissa
    @sempremelissa

    Oh gosh. I remember back in 1999-2000 when I first discovered the internet beyond AOL, and came across your blog somehow… and I was like, Huh? Someone is writing about her life and ANYONE can just… READ IT? lol. And I clicked on your links to other blogs and other people writing about their lives, and all these mysterious Internet People were interesting and funny and REAL somehow, and I was hooked. And then I started a blog myself, and later met YOU, and the whole thing is just crazy, isn’t it? heh. :) But yeah, the internet definitely has a good side. Happy Blogiversary! Here’s to the next ten years! :)

    Jun 21 5:39 pm


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      wow so I was one of your first blog reads?? It’s funny because back in those days, having a blog was some deep, dark secret thing that nobody else really understood! I think my parents thought I was insane, ha (and maybe still do?? even though they both read it all the time!)

      It is crazy how some of the same people have stuck together through the years. Imagine in another ten!! WHEN WE’RE FORTY. haha

      Jun 22 7:21 am


    • Melissa, I remember you were my first blog ever that I followed. I stumbled upon blogger, created my first blog and you were on the list of the last updated blogs back then. I clicked on your link and fell in love right away. And then I “met” you, Jen! :) I think that was 7 years ago and I have been hooked ever since.

      Jun 23 12:33 pm


  6. For the last, like, however long, I’ve been saying it “Jaye – sell”. Because Tony’s daycare lady is named that, seriously, and it’s spelled the way you spell it.

    Oops.

    Jun 21 5:48 pm


  7. C @ Kid Things
    @kidthingsnet

    I remember all of that from muted. I also remember Ari (that was her name, right?) and sometimes wonder what happened to her. I used to love her writing.

    Congrats on 10 years! That’s a long time in internet terms. If nothing else, you should get an award just for longevity and perseverance.

    Jun 21 6:27 pm


  8. Wow… you’re a Legend! Congratulations on having the sheer willpower it takes to go that long.

    And thanks for breaking down the Jayesel… I always wondered about it too, but didn’t want to look like a dum-dum and ask.

    Jun 21 6:45 pm


  9. I stumbled upon muted.com in 2001 and have been a loyal reader since. I can’t believe it’s been ten years already! I was a Junior in high school in ’01. I had blogs on and off throughout the years. Makes me wish I had just kept one so I could have kept track of everything. Remember Greymatter and Movabletype? I think they still exist. Doing all these websites is actually want got me into graphic design. And I totally remember having to update posts via FTP. I’m so happy things are easier now!

    Jun 21 7:32 pm


  10. Woy

    I’ve followed you since about 2002 – been so great to see you grow as a person. And looking forward to what is yet to come!

    Jun 21 10:10 pm


  11. Elisabeth
    @Epsnider

    Wow, I’m impressed! I think I started blogging with blogger in 2003 and then I went from blogger, to xanga, to myspace, to piczo and now back to blogger again…

    Also, I’ve been pronouncing your name wrong… Jay-zel is how I’ve been thinking it in my head…

    Jun 22 12:12 am


  12. I absolutely LOVE those old screenshots. I know I have some similar webdesign skeletons in my closet – I just wish I’d been as judicious as you about preserving them! I had a Harry Potter fan site for a while (in black and purple, I think) and I designed something in god-awful red white and blue for a friend’s political action group and ON AND ON.

    Jun 22 8:37 am


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      oh and I have SO many other really early ones I didn’t take screenshots of (I don’t think I knew HOW to take screenshots at that point, ha) But really, that’s probably a good thing. Some of the early ones are just EMBARRASSING. LOL

      Jun 22 8:41 am


  13. 10 years, wow! I thought my 5 years were pretty good. I remember how shocked I was when someone actually commented finally.

    Jun 22 10:17 am


  14. LZ

    Aha! I know how to pronounce your blog name now!
    Congrats on 10 years. I had a friend who must have started around that time. She traveled around the world and documented it. We all thought she was such a genius to have her own website. Your friends must have thought so, too.

    Jun 22 11:21 am


  15. Athena

    hey! we were the wedding in your graduation post! ha! :)

    Jun 22 4:13 pm


  16. Caity
    @caitysparkles

    Congratulations on blogging for 10 years! That is incredible! Now keep it up for 10 more! :)

    Jun 22 5:52 pm


  17. So glad I’ve known you all these years! And here we were back in college thinking you were just a really geeky ex-cheerleader/Biology major but really you turned out to be SO freakin cool.

    May I say that I’m glad I got a mention in your “college graduate” post….your South Carolina friend!

    Anyways, I had fun reading those old posts. Congrats on TEN YEARS!

    Hey also, guess what? I’m due with #2 in december! Guess I ought to post about that soon, huh?

    Jun 22 10:24 pm


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      um well, I kind of am a geeky ex-cheerleader ;) You were right! ha

      CONGRATS on number 2!! Exciting! How are you feeling? Are you still in the early weeks or are you past that yucky part? It’s fun being pregnant with friends!

      Jun 23 7:29 am


      • I’m feeling great, except my hips ache. I’m just getting over an aversion to all forms of meat and poultry! 17.5 weeks. Will find out the sex in a couple of weeks! Hope you are hangning in there! It is fun when friends are pregnant too! I bet maggie will be old enought to help some with your new one. Eve will probably just poke him/her!

        Jun 27 11:00 pm


  18. When I found your site, I vividly remember you had the layout with the rose on it. I too had a blog then, connected to my *NSYNC fan site. (oh sweet god…). I think I’m going on 10 years as well, but I definitely have some missing archives, not that I need to read through the misspelled ramblings of my 13 year old self.

    Anyway, I remember reading some of those highlights when they happened and being so excited for you! It’s crazy that its been so long. Congrats on 10 years!!!

    Jun 23 11:59 am


  19. Mel
    @overdramaticmel

    Wow…I’ve been reading you for that long? Lol… I started reading you back before Muted, I think! :) I was at diaryland forever! Then livejournal…Then FINALLY made my way to domain world (where I’m on my second, myself!)

    Jun 24 5:48 pm