I can’t remember the name of the site now, but my first online journal was on some now defunct journaling website when I was in high school. From there I eventually launched a blog using Blogger (pre Google’s acquisition of the service.) As I grew to enjoy blogging and getting into other people’s blogs I started wanting to do more. To do things I couldn’t do on a free blog provided by Blogger.
That is when I started RoninCyberpunk.com (my first self-hosted blog, using Movable Type as I recall.) By then I was in college, some 15 years ago. In 2007 I registered TrickJarrett.com and transitioned my blog over to it. I think I felt RoninCyberpunk.com was no longer representative of who I was, and I wanted to present a more professional face.
My online evolution continued with the rise of social media sites. That, combined with my professional career providing me an outlet to write, caused my own blog to decline in use. In the past two years I’ve only made two full blog posts prior to this one: One was a list of books I wanted to read in 2018, and one remembering Anthony Bourdain. The only innovation coding-wise on here was done in the middle of the year when I began to track my “Media diet” as a means to share movies, books, and TV. But that too quickly fell by the wayside.
A few weeks ago WordPress updated to version 5.0 and I updated the theme I used without thinking. Doing that broke the new media diet functionality and so I found myself having to re-code it. The silver lining was that by doing it the second time, I did it the right way and made it better.
So, as you might have surmised: I’ve been thinking about this blog and wanting to use it more.
Then, this week, I read this article, linked to by Kottke.org. Secondly I read Mike Elgan’s Nicebook post. Both come from the perspective of quitting Facebook. Elgan’s is a walthrough of his implementation for photo sharing using Google Photos. The first is an article discussing how and why Facebook dominated, but noting it doesn’t have to.
Both of these articles echo wants which are similar to mine, though I’m not looking to explicitly quit Facebook yet. As problematic as it is, I do still value it as a communication platform with an array of friends, acquaintances, and family.
For me one of the drivers for this is that so much of my time online is devoted to just a trio of websites: Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. So often I’ll close a tab of one of those websites and suddenly find myself opening a tab to go there just seconds later. It’s done without thinking. So deeply ingrained is their presence in my mind.
These websites are addictive because they are the conveyor belt of content. We can just refresh and be presented with new stuff, or as it often is, the same stuff for the ninth time in ten minutes. It might be nostalgia, but I miss the days when there were thousands of individual websites that had to be discovered.
(All of this is ignoring the issues that sites, most recently Facebook, have raised in how they present content and target users. Those too weigh on me in this discussion.)
To step back and put it more philosophically: I want to create more rather than consume when I’m on the Internet. I want to write and build my own thing here again.
Back during my peak, I could honestly name my blog as one of my primary hobbies. If I wasn’t writing on it, I was tinkering and changing how it looked or I was coding some new functionality. Generations before me might have had a car they worked on in the garage, or a woodshop to work in. I had my blog. And I miss that. I miss having a website be one of my primary hobbies.
I’m moving back in.