Why Did You Start Your Blog?

Today I am cribbing from the WordPress project, post a day, for my topic. Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I already had a website.

Why did I start my website? The history of torturedpotato.com goes roughly like this:

– one day, sitting at Taco Time, Michael, Sarah and I came up with my first hotmail address: torturedpotato at hotmail. So named because of the way a “Mexi-Fry” (Tater Tot) pops its fried head off and oozes potatoey goodness when you squeeze it. Also, now that I’m re-reading that sentence, not unlike a pimple. Just think, you could be reading at “whitehead.com”. Lucky you!

– a couple of years later, in conversation with Saint Aardvark, who had already been at this whole “personal website” thing for a while (check out his fictional – or is it? – history of “The Floating Head of Ayn Rand”) I decided to register the domain torturedpotato.com. It’s what we crazy kids did in the early-oughts.

– why did I do this? Because I could. And it was fun. And I had time on my hands (I was unemployed at the time), so I learned basic html and made hilariously bad web pages and changed the colours with a flick of my fingers and I felt like a magician.

– Look, see? There’s all kinds of business that predates the blog. Silly stuff about shoes and ducks and packages of candy from Superstore. No, not much has changed.

– There is tremendous power in creation, but the creation I generally engage in – nose to notebook, fingers on keys – doesn’t tend to yield results that one can see immediately. The Internet provided me that missing (addictive) link. I wrote things, I saved the file, I made a link to it, it was ON THE INTERNET. Like going from film camera to digital camera. Like the first time you send an email with your phone. Or an email at all. No stamps. No waiting.

– When I started reading blogs in 2002 or 2003? I started writing journal or blog-like entries on torturedpotato. I had already been keeping paper journals since I could write but it was a little different writing personal thoughts for public consumption. I didn’t install a weblog on my website at first because a) weblogs were so hip and I weren’t about to be hip like the hip kids b) it was my website. I do what I want. I also, like many people, started and abandoned many blogger / livejournal accounts.

– I am a Late, yet dedicated, Adopter.

– But then I realized it was hard to read my journal entries because they were just glopped on the page in html and I didn’t feel like learning more complicated web languages (by then I had a job so not so much time to sit around and teach myself to code things) and oh you know what, someone has written actual programs that manage your content for you. Thanks wordpress.

– The cheeseblog was born in 2003 to document my elimination of cheese from my diet. That elimination lasted 17 days. I kept writing, and eating cheese. I think the cheese thing – giving my blog a “topic” – was just an excuse to play bloggity with the big kids. All those arguments against blogging – personal blogging I mean, not those important people who write political commentary – are valid; it is self-obsession at its most heightened. It leads every schmo with an internet connection to think she’s a WritOr. At the time, those arguments made me nervous. I didn’t want to be self-obsessed. I didn’t want everyone to think I was someone who thought she was a WritOr, if you can follow that logic.

However, having done this for 7.5 years now and having seen how many wonderful things there are to read that I would never have read if not for blogging, not to mention how my own writing has improved because of the practice, not that you would know that by reading this sentence — will it ever end — I don’t think those are bad things, anymore. I think everyone deserves to gaze at his / her navel as much as possible. And if you want to call yourself a WritOr, go for it. It’s a big internet. So I keep doing it.

So, why did you start your blog? Or, why didn’t you start your blog?

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