There was a time when I was genuinely proud, in a kitschy sort of ironic way, that I had a “working lava lamp” on my homepage. This was circa 1995. My page had white text on a black background (wasn’t it cool how web pages could seem to float in space? wasn’t it interesting when we all realized it reminded us of black-velvet Elvis paintings and we all recoiled in horror?) Well, things have changed since then. We’re all so much more sophisticated, so much more jaded. But I’m not so jaded that I can’t celebrate 2 years of keeping a weblog. Because any reason to eat cake is a worthy enterprise.
While I was trying to figure out how to integrate memekitchen with my other more personal-brainfart weblog at drewspace, I remembered the weblog I started in September 2000, over at weblogs.com. And how I’d been hearing about weblogs since a year or more before, but how as usual it took me a year to get around to figuring it out and trying it for myself. (I am most definitely not one of the “cool kids” who do everything first — I’m more of a penultimate cool kid. The safe, let’s see if this is actually really stupid before I try it kind of cool.)
I suppose I’d been ‘blogging’ even earlier, when I was part of a group of online gamers with our own little website, and I talked one of them into whipping up a little perl script to allow us to put newsy bits on the homepage more easily. (Hm, that was around ’97 I believe). But nobody called it blogging yet, so it didn’t count 🙂
I’m not sure what I think about all the ballyhoo around weblogs. I have my doubts about overturning the corporate media with millions of weblogs, the way some have forecast. As with most revolutions, this one will be co-opted and folded into the mainstream, almost imperceptibly, and perhaps mostly for the better. It’ll naturally become a part of the mix of human experience, and will mix its DNA with everything else, and change will happen. Which is evolution. Which is much nicer, and less likely to inspire cheesy anthems.
It’s fun to think that we’re all contributing to knowledge and, to some degree, truth. I mean, when people search for something on Google, the results they get are to a large degree shaped what gets linked to and discussed in weblogs. When people browse for information about a new subject, they’re more likely to hit sites that the sites they find link to. (That was such an awkward sentence. My 8th Grade English teacher would’ve had “awk” scrawled in red ink all over it!! But guess what? This is the Web!! So I don’t CARE!!! Muhahahahaha!)
What still excites me about blogging is the ability to create a kind of massive anthill, as a species, that contains vestiges of our personal selves, our real voices, our lived stories. Not just the sterilized version, but a hive-mind version with all the murmurs, whispers and casual asides. It’s all part of living our lives in front of others, an activity which our air-conditioned suburbs have been causing to diminish over the last 50 years or so. It’s a new way for us to be social, and yet private at the same time. It’s both a leap forward in the evolution of how we converse and commune, and a return backward to something more social and open. That still sounds like hype, I suppose. But it’s my hype, so it’s ok with me.