Well, it’s been a long time, been a long time, been a lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time….
I don’t want to throw my back out by blogging too rigorously, so I’m going to make my first entry back an easy one — my first of what I hope will be a series of responses to Alan Levine’s noble and useful call for what he calls the Blog-Ha moment, or what “triggered the 10,000 watt light bulb going off in your head that screamed, ‘Wow! There is something really powerful about this way of expression.'”
I intend a series, because my own Blog-Ha moments extend from my very first experiences using Blogger until about two weeks ago. But I’ve got a terrifying backlog of email overflowing my inbox, so my first installment is going to recycle something I wrote for the ETUG Blogtalk online happening that Scott Leslie (who’s blogging again — yee-haw!) put togther a couple years ago. I entitled my initial foray:
Brian Lamb tells all about his first time…
I used to look longingly at all the other people with groovy websites out there. They seemed so together, as if they and that gorgeous Internet presence they had were just meant to be together. But I suppose I just thought of those people as somehow a breed apart… that I could never truly be one of them. I resigned myself to living out my life without a digital presence. I didn’t have the skills, for one — I didn’t really even know what “the skills” were, exactly.
It was a little more than [four] years ago that I started hearing about this form called weblogs. Lucky for me, I was friends with an early adopter. Lucky for all of us, she’s one of the co-facillitators of this discussion… it was Laura Trippi who showed me the ins and outs of the form, pointed me towards some of the better weblogs of the time. She offered me encouragement and honest feedback. It’s her fault that I became a weblogger, and I’ll always be grateful.
On her advice, I went to Blogger — then, as now, the place to go if you’re a newbie who wants to start blogging right away — took out a Blogspot hosting account, chose the template that looked most like Laura’s site… and minutes later I was authoring my first posting. Oh good, it’s still there… I wrote, verbatim:
Why a weblog?
It may be a case of aimless ambition seizing upon a stray mechanism and jamming itself into the gears. Whatever violence that happens to be done to the content, and the way it ought to be presented, is secondary.
Of course, any media form impresses itself upon the ideas it transmits–and here the urge to quote McLuhan is dutifully resisted. But the question lingers like a bad smell: is this weblog an appropriate format for its purpose?
([Four] years later, and here I am writing about whether or not weblogs are worth writing. I would like to think that I have grown over that period, but the evidence appears to contradict that notion.)
I hit the publish button… and there it was. I remember genuine excitement in seeing my words rendered in a nice font on a reasonably well-designed page. I had no way of knowing that exact template would eventually be adopted by 1,675,432 websites over the next couple of years… and so I thought that the page’s appearance reflected rather well on me, that it gave me an air of street cred among the geeks.
I was seduced and enchanted. I’ve since started (and usually moved on from) about a dozen weblogs since, but you never forget your first.
Maybe you are a little bit the way I was then… Maybe you’ve reached a point in your life where you are willing to take the plunge and fall head over heels into work with a weblog. Hopefully over the next day or two we will be able to point you to a few useful resources to get you started, and answer some of your questions along the way. Most importantly, I hope that the sense of satisfaction is for you as it has been for me… the joy of finding a tool that lets me forget about the technical issues, to get on with the writing itself, and better yet publishes and distributes it to people who actually seem to enjoy reading the result.