Let’s Blog Again, Like We Did 15 Years Ago

Remember when everyone blogged? Here’s what I remember about it: I thought the audiences for these things were limited to the people who I personally told about them, so that was approximately 14 people. Things got out of hand during my early 2002 intern stint at The Taipei Times, where I reviewed nightclubs while underaged and more comically, when my LiveJournal was secretly being read by all my Canadian, British and American expat colleagues, who I was totally blogging about. I had a crazy crush on one of those colleagues because he was a brooding-yet-brilliant asshole. I never named said crush and instead just relentlessly wrote about being in lust with him. Unbeknownst to me, the men in the office started a pool over who it was. One night, while stoned at a party, one of these guys decided he wanted to end the office pool so he told me about it. I was so humiliated I didn’t go to work for a week. They never figured out who the dude was. I wonder what he’s doing. Probably being brooding/brilliant.

My college roomie Amy ran a blog called “Unsolicited Advice” and I checked it all the time even though we were always like, sitting right next to each other. I don’t think any irreverent person in the Missouri Journalism program lacked a blog, actually. Everyone seemed to write under pseudonyms (a sign of those times) and I chose “Jack Foley” after the George Clooney bank robber character in Out of Sight. I named my blog after a line from a different movie — Waiting for Guffman. Inside the crop circle in the film, it was weirdly always 67 Degrees with a 40% Chance of Rain, so that was what I called ye olde blog. Those were the days. Those blogs felt realer, maybe because we had more characters to use and fewer image filters to choose from. The internet wasn’t feudal and algorithms didn’t decide as much about which friends you kept up with and which ones you never read about.

That was a long windup to a point, which is that confronted with Facebook feeds and Tweetdeck barrages and Instagram and Snapchat and whatever the kids use these days, some people are returning to the old-school style of blogging. Mainly it’s the internet dude Dave Winer, and my friend Jenny (who I wanted to BE in 8th grade). And I think I want to try and do it more, too. As Winer notes, “Out here on the open web, as long as you stay away from the BigCo silos, there is no algorithm. Just people. No one but us people.”

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Back When I Blogged Brazenly

“I have no idea what compels me to do these things; I will never understand why I need to write about the events that other people merely experience.” -Chuck Klosterman

The year I started blogging was also the year I dated that Mizzou golf team guy in the gray.

The year I started blogging was also the year I dated that Mizzou golf team guy in the grey shirt.

I started blogging just after Christmas break in late 2000/early 2001. My friend Bryan Mathews, a computer geek who was always ahead of his time, encouraged me to write entries to a software called “Live Journal” because he had built me a website as a gift and it needed content. The wayback machine capture of the site doesn’t seem to have the index page image/design on it anymore, but maybe it was cause he used Flash, which was cool back in the early aughts.

In 2002, when I was studying abroad in Taipei and interning at the Taipei Times, I was still under the impression that blogging was ostensibly secret because who would actually read the nonsense I posted? So I was quite candid on my blog, especially about my mad crush on an American expat writer at the paper. I didn’t name names, but that only made things more fun for the staff, because I later learned they started an office pool to bet on which dude it was. MORTIFYING. I ran home alone from the house party where I learned of this pool and proceeded to delete dozens of posts from my LiveJournal.

In my last year of college at Missouri (which is amazingly 10 — TEN — years ago now), I was using Xanga as a blogging platform. And as it turns out, I was using it a lot. I found my Xanga blog tonight and it’s awesome to read about how I spent my days in 2003. It made me wish I’d been blogging more over the last decade. I’m a nostalgia junkie, after all. It’s why I’ve kept a diary since age six. It’s why I love photos and photographers. It’s probably why I’m a journalist. And now, I feel compelled to recommit myself to personal blogging. Not daily, since keeping up my daughter’s Eva’s daily photo blog takes work, but at a more regular clip.

Maybe this will work, or maybe I’ll lose steam. But we’re so quippy now, with our tweets and status updates and our photo Tumblrs. I want a more substantive artifact for later, and I trust my current blog platform, WordPress, is gonna stick around for awhile.

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Quick Update

So much random blogging, so little time. To get a sense of where my head’s at, two alternative blog locations:

Conversations about Mad Men, a group Tumblr my friends and I are penning together as we journey through the fourth season of one of television’s best shows.

Hu-Stiles: The Blog, where we looked back at the crazy spring weekend we spent in Europe with the people we love the most.

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