What Blogging Was in 1995 and What it Has Become

The blogger over at Writing Aspirations made some hefty points about blogging back in in 2007. Some I agree with, and some I am on the fence about. At any rate, it inspired me to share my take on the internet and writing, it’s been a long, strange trip for me.

I started writing on a personal website in 1995. I started it free at Geocities (now defunct), and I didn’t even have my own computer. I accessed the page through California State University Fullerton’s computer lab. As I recall they had MAC’s. I’ve since become a PC guy. Geocities separated sites into categories based on broader interests. Because mine was literature and writing (I was an English major in my last semester at the time), they gave me an “Athens” addy. I remember advancing through the other websites and finding sites ranging from highly busy with too many graphics moving to standard written sites where the personal webmaster seemed more conservative. I remember my first webpage was a diatribe on what my named meant (Damien) and a history of how the “Omen” portrayed it in a false bad light. Seems like 100 years ago! Geocities had an extensive help system that taught me basic html, ie: item in bold and how to make a link, colors, pictures, etc. It was web design for the average joe, and I used it to post the little things going on in my life (and occasional big ones). It was so exciting to learn new tricks, like how to post an animated GIF next to something, how to use a background image, etc. I sent my updated pages with “ecolumns,” as I used to call them, to family and friends on my address list. It was a great way to connect with the people I knew and loved. While with Geocities, I also learned a lot of code secrets from Dynamic Drive.

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I discovered phpBB forums. These replaced owner’s manuals and personal websites. I was, at one time, a posting member of 20 forums. My handle was “jeeptravel,” and you could find me in a search posting on anything from High Desert issues to plumbing to Jeep repair. They were great, but my interest waned when posts seemed to be lost after a few replies. There was no permanence to forums, it got boring. I guess it depends on the forum you frequent, but the ones I went to seemed to dribble down to a core of members that weren’t always as interesting as the technology of the forum made you think. This is an important point when considering the blog question of 2007. I started a few forums of my own through PhP. When you purchase a personal website from a server host like Top Class Host (one of the best and cheapest I’ve found), they automatically include “fantastico” which allows the user to instantly install a forum, blog, or any number of awesome sql database driven items. I use them now to host my blog. Specifically I use WordPress software included in the hosting package. I pay $6.95/month and it is well worth it for the freedom of tweaking I have with my blog and storage on my website. That brings us to the state of blogging in modern time.

Before starting my own “not free” hosted site, I blogged off and on for several years at blogger.com

blogger.com is an awesome free service, but there are MANY great free blogging services out there to check out.

Now for my point (sorry for the long history, thanks for reading this long).

Speaking to the question of the blog phenom being a passing fad: I must answer with a cop-out, yes and no.

Yes, the trend of signing up for a free blogging service and writing posts like “Yikes I broke a nail,” will inevitably fade out.

It will grow boring for folks just as MySpace has begun to fade in its popularity. The veneer of technological “wow” will wear off (hmmm three w’s in a row) and these folks will either A) continue to keep their blog as a way to communicate with contacts, or B) Shut it down or abandon it in favor of some new technological toy (I don’t know what that will be just yet).

On the other hand, I must reply “no,” it is not a passing trend because great writers are using it to create “ecolumns” for family and friends more than ever before. It is, in essence, a literary renaissance revival. Everywhere across the globe people are writing. It is a phenomenon of communication . . . like the free website was with geocities and other providers but on a WAYYYYY wider scale. Those who remain blogging through 2007 will be those people who are both good, thoughtful writers AND who are also internet savvy. You have to be with blogging. Keeping up with terms like “trackback” and “ping” is a tough endeavor, if you don’t like computers. But a little interest goes a long way.

In 2010 I made almost 6k on my three blogs. I write for a few Pay to Blog type companies. I also make money through Adsense. For me, blogs continue to hold my interest and they pay me money. Where will they go from here? Only time will tell.

Author: Damien Riley

I'm a blogger, film critic, & podcaster with an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. I teach public school, 4th grade as my primary occupation. My views on films and life are usually headstrong and often 'left of center' on movies and life, but I have respect for the other side. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.

15 thoughts on “What Blogging Was in 1995 and What it Has Become”

  1. Hi Damien,

    Great post. Very thought-provoking… goodness, Geocities. A blast from the past, I used to really hate when I’d come across one of those tripod or geocities sites that had half a dozen popups. I do look forward to a more refined set of regular posters :D Not that I mind the “oops I broke a nail post” every now and again. But I just don’t seem to spend much time on those sites that are 100% personal or frivolous!

    Thanks for participating in the discussion! :D

  2. Just thought I’d say Hello and Happy New Year!
    Clicked a link from a group and ended up here.
    Interesting reading!!

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    Kacy

  3. Hiya..

    Well firstly my apologies (uhm, kinda ashamed here) for not being able to return your visit and fine comments until now. I could almost say I was busy drinking, but that would only make it worse, so I’ll cut to the chase..

    That’s IMHO a pretty sound history (and quite familiar), and I do agree with all you’ve put up. I never understood the “niche” stuff, let alone niche-blogs.

    The theory is, if I blog about beating beetles out of a garden -continuously-, then all the people in the world who are trying to do the same will come to my blog, and hence earn me money (through adsense, probably). Well, I just don’t buy it.

    Happy new year!

  4. Nice blog, I really like how you have the colors, and the outlook is great as well. Many people do not do this good of blogs, very good indeed, article is very mind capturing I really like it. Keep up the great work let me know when you have more done.

  5. You brought back some memories here with Geocities and Dynamic Drive! I was a huge fan of both! I think when you originally wrote this post the idea of blogging was really taking off for a lot of people. Here we are almost at 2010 and I don’t think it’s going anywhere!!!

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