Back to the Blog

Back when I was a teenager, I blogged... like a lot. I remember being introduced to the idea of a blog from a kid named Anthony, and blogs were all the rage for me and my friend group. At that point, we were mostly just using blogs as a sorta-kinda weekly/daily diary and gossip column. Baring our souls to the world for anyone that knew our Blogger or LiveJournal url.

Then, as I got older, blogging got a little commercialized. Or maybe it always was, but I just didn't see that side of the internet -- the side where blogging was new and people were using it to test new political ideas and so on. I was just a tad too young for that. But I was around for the big blogging boom of the late aughts/early 2010s. Specifically, theology blogs were a HUGE thing. Patheos was a daily reader for me, as I jumped from the Tony Jones blog to the Scot McKnight blog. Also common were the blogs of Rachel Held Evans (RIP) and some much quirkier, weirder, progressive blogs. Often, a topic or idea would take off and everyone would shoot off their respective thoughts in a blog post, and a big giant blogospheric conversation would happen for a few days or weeks.

Of course, that world doesn't exist anymore. I'd say I don't know why, but I think I do. The internet solidified and self-sorted into walled-garden areas. Places like Twitter is where a lot of those conversations happen now. But Twitter is evil and addictive and a genuinely terrible forum for hashing out ideas. You might explore some idea that is heretical to whatever your group is and immediately get piled on. The other thing I think has happened is the turn to entertainment. I don't have good data or anything for this, but it just seems like so much of the internet has become a place to scroll and watch and scroll and watch and scroll and watch some more. What fun is a blog that's exploring interesting ideas when it's so much easier to watch a well-made video or let someone else do the thinking for you?

So blogging got old or boring or whatever happened. I'm sure there a more complicated reasons than what I mentioned above.

This is a bit of an attempt by me to be an early aughts curmudgeon about what the internet can and (I think) should be. Blogging is supposed to be weird, not commercialized. It's supposed to link to cool things and make interesting connections and be unorthodox and different.

This is my (new) attempt at that. I don't know how well I'll do at it. I remember enjoying blogging, and I'm trying to do more things that I enjoy now. To capture the spirit of weirdness, this whole blog was built by me, by hand.

No Wordpress or Blogger or Squarespace running the show. I wrote a very small script (that you can see here) that takes posts I write in Markdown (for non-tech people, that just fancy for not-as-lame-to-write-in as html), converts that Markdown to html, and throws it in a folder. There's a couple other things going on under the hood (tags, for example), and I'm hoping to add something for images so I can get away from Instagram and maybe some other things in the future, and some way to convert my posts into an RSS feed for following (because RSS rules way more than stupid algorithms that tell you what they think you want to read).

But for now, like I said, this is my little project that I've been working on for a while. I doubt pretty much anyone is going to read any of this. But maybe I'll come back to it in a while and be happy with what the space provides for me.

And maybe it'll be an inspiration for someone else. Happy blogging friends. Stay weird on the internet, and don't let anyone force you to conform to how lame it has gotten out there.

Tagged: blogging,