I’ve been blogging on my site for over 21 years. I feel really good about doing a project for that long and am going to continue doing it.
From the fall of 1998 it has been a stream of reverse-chronological posts and in general it has been expansive; bringing content I created elsewhere into the timestream of posts.
Today I am beginning something new, the slow shuttering of the earliest posts (which are retroblogging I added to represent my life before 1998) as I add new posts.
Rather than agonizing over reproducing exactly the look I have now, what if I just set up an adequate theme and import my thousands of posts to that? What if I switched to WordPress the easy way and focused on my words rather than the design of the page. I mean, I am a writer, not a designer, so yeah. This makes a lot more sense.
Though this and last year have had 'not getting to do what I'd planned to do' as their main theme, I have not given up my intention of moving this site to new software.
My goal is to integrate all my online output into this one place. As is obvious below, there's a lot to be done for Twitter integration, just for starters.
A big part of the problem is that as ideal as it once was and as fond as I am of that old Movable Type foundation, Typepad as a platform has been sorely neglected for a long time. Another is that I haven't had web design or even web-based product management as my main job for years. That's why making the big switch has become an increasingly challenging task and ever easier to put off. But it's time. I'll start with my other, vastly smaller, sites before I tackle this big beast.
Feels like I'm standing outside a ramshackle mansion and rolling up my sleeves. 🙂
… which is how I'm getting my non-reply tweets logged here on MetaGrrrl.com.
Many annoyances—CSS being ignored, category showing as text not applied properly, URLs in shortened form, truncated message text, images not passed through—are making me think before long I will have to bite the bullet and completely rebuild the site in software that's better maintained. Maybe for its 20th birthday…
I've been using the Internet a long time. Not as long as some of my friends, but since before the first Clinton administration at least. In all that time I've created many things online, some significant, some fleeting. Lots of them are lost forever, but what I've been able to save, I'm gradually integrating into my blog here on MetaGrrrl.com along with other memorabilia of my life.
Think of it as an autobiography written very, very slowly.
One way I'm able to reduce the workload of this phenomenal project is to automate those additions where services allow me to do so with my skills. Unfortunately, these integrations are often rudimentary, as you can see with my tweets, where Typepad isn't obeying the style rules it should and where, ideally, I'll come back eventually and merge separate related tweets into a single post.
Thanks, everyone, for your patience with this multi-decade project. As ever, I appreciate you visiting my site and reading my words. Thank you for sharing the Web and the world with me!
Kevin Drum's piece "Blogging Isn't Dead. But Old-School Blogging Is Definitely Dying" is not without some truth, but overlooks key things. Most importantly, that when old-school blogging was in its full flower, text was the only easy way to share yourself online. Now it's almost as easy to create and distribute art or audio or video or combinations of those as it was to submit a long post in the Blogger submission page. We have a great diversity of expression happening, particularly in video.
Beyond which now, with a good computing device in everyone's pocket, it's no longer necessary to save everything up into one chunk you laboriously craft over a long evening at home. The conversation truly can be dialogue, with reactions and riffs taking place within minutes or even seconds. Yes, Twitter and other easy technologies for portable sharing of ideas and images are sometimes knee-jerk, but heaven knows so have the comments under blog posts always been. Nor has >140 characters ever been an unusual length.
One of the strengths of new-school sharing is that it allows conversations to easily extend and expand not only over a growing audience but also over time. Yes, we had follow-up posts back then—and that inter-blog dialogue was always a joy—but it was hard to find and even harder to maintain momentum. Now, between Twitter and, to my mind the best combination of the old and the new, Medium, it's possible to more easily find the pieces of reaction which wander around the web, rebounding from and influencing each other.
I started blogging before the word was coined and have never stopped, but—like many—my means of output have expanded as opportunity grew. Wordy posts pour out of us when words are all we have, but we have so much more we can do now, and more ways to use our words. Since Flickr and Twitter and Medium and the opportunity to take my long-form work into finished books through self-publishing, I write fewer blog posts, but I am even more creative and connected through the web than I was back in the day.
Old-school blogging isn't dead, it's growing up, and growing up beautifully into something new.
Have we met?
I asked that question here on this site in September of 1998 in a post one month before MetaGrrrl.com would turn into what we would later call a blog.
I say I’ve never met Karawynn, Jamie, Carl and Justin. What the fuck does that mean?
I sit next to someone on the bus, I shake hands with a co-worker’s client who I’ll never see again, I chat with the bank teller and somehow these are people I’ve met?
My body doesn’t encompass me.
I don’t have to breathe the same air to be in the same place as you.
Have we met?
What a different world we live in now. We’ve been through radical changes in politics, technology, and cultural norms. Our days have transformed as the non-present world becomes present through these magic devices in our pockets. I live in a different city. Have a completely new career. Am in another relationship.
What hasn’t changed? Many of those people that some folks used to say I’d never met are still a part of my daily life.
So here’s my question for them, and for you, what has made these “virtual” connections so strong?
How has the way we built the web and the mobile internet and our tech-centric cities strengthened and weakened those chains since that year, 1998, when it seemed like maybe this world wide web thing might be sticking around?
A conversation 14 years long