While I am still young in the eyes of many at 23 years old, I started blogging when I was 12 or 13 years old, making me somewhat of a “veteran” (albeit self-proclaimed.) For me, all it took to get the ball rolling was the initial curiosity to start a website — a “fan site”, as embarrassing as it is to admit, for a popular 90’s boy band that some of you might even remember. The drive to learn more started with the need for self-expression and blossomed into questions with many answers (What code do I need to position this div layer that way? Let’s consult the W3C. Ok, got it!), questions without answers (Why does Internet Explorer ALWAYS screw up my layout?!), and everything in between. As a result, most of what I know about the internet, website design, graphic design, and of course blogging came from learning through trial and error, and I’m not sure I’d want it any other way.
In the past decade, I’ve seen the blogging realm — or “blogosphere”, as many call it — change quite significantly. Blogging has become this “cool” thing to do that people can also make money off of or become famous for doing. It attracts all walks of life, professionals and amateurs alike, from across the world. Like social media vehicles like Youtube and Facebook, blogs allow anyone to be a “citizen journalist,” and there are audiences out there for every single niche topic that you can imagine. Blogs for people who like food (“foodies”)? There are millions. Blogs for people who like sports? Probably millions more. Blogs for people who collect antique candlestick holders from the 18th century? I’m sure there are a few thousand of those, too! Even businesses are hopping on-board with branded blogs of their own to allow them to get closer to their target customers while appearing more approachable and transparent.
At the same time, the rules of the internet have also changed. We are at a point where it is preferred to use your name (first and last) on the internet — on your blog, social sites, website, etc. — because it establishes credibility and forces accountability whereas an alias can quickly and easily be changed to allow a person to remain “anonymous”. I once read, though, that hackers can pick up bits and pieces of information from your profiles; one might find your full name on one profile, your birthdate and city or state on another and put the pieces together accordingly. I guess we are no longer concerned about identity theft? It depends on who you ask, I guess?
Anyway, just a few quick reflections. I didn’t want to over-think and over-analyze, ultimately turning this into a whole dissertation on the evolution of the internet over the past decade. It might be fun to revisit in detail if I ever need another thesis topic, though. I’ll open up to you, the reader, instead…
If you have a blog: When did you start your first blog? Do you still have it? What changes have you seen in blogging or the internet over the past few years, if any? How do you feel about highly targeted blogs focused on one or two major topics versus “everything and the kitchen sink” blogs where several topics are discussed (kind of like mine)?
If you don’t have a blog: How come? Do you read any blogs? Are you tempted to start blogging? What topic(s) would you write about?