A blog is a much nicer place to publish than social media, sparking fewer but more meaningful interactions. Blogging allows writers a more forgiving pace with slower conversation. On their blog, people can be themselves instead of playing to an audience and feeling judged — a place to escape the pressures of one-upmanship and signaling, the noise of the ever-demanding attention economy, and the stress of hustle culture.
It’s a huge achievement, to be sure, and I couldn’t agree more with Tracy’s sentiment here. Congratulations, Tracy!
I’m a little jealous that she can pinpoint an anniversary date. For me, it depends on how you judge: I had a hand-rolled blog of sorts when I went to university in 1998, but was it really a blog? I definitely had a public Livejournal in 2001, but was that a blog? How about blog I used to keep on Elgg dot net (now a domain squatter, may it rest in peace)? My old domain, benwerd.com, dates back to 2006, and my current one, werd.io, only goes back to 2013. It’s a bit of a messy history, with stops and false starts.
On the other hand, I know people who have posted to the same domain for almost as long as they’ve been online. I don’t know if I can match that sort of dedication - or a commitment to even having a continuous identity for all that time. Am I the same person I was 20+ years ago? A little bit yes, but mostly not really. The idea of joining up my life online on a long-term basis is actually quite daunting.
Tracy links to Mandy Brown’s piece on writers vs talkers, which also deeply resonates: I’m a writer. I hate being drawn into making decisions in ad hoc meetings. I want to write my thoughts down, structure them, and then come to a conclusion after getting feedback and iterating. Perhaps that’s why blogging early appeals to me so much: I can put out ideas and very quickly engage in conversations about them that pushes my thinking along.
Blogging might seem like a solitary activity, but it’s very, very social. Even the name — a pun derived from weblog = we blog — is about community. Writing for 20 years also means building community for that long.
Here’s to the next 20!