I am very bad at blogging. I was thinking the other day that I have not added anything here since October. I also got to thinking about all of the other blogs I have attempted to create and keep up with. And that is when I realized that I might not be a blogger. Or at least not a very good one.
Back in the Day
When I was getting interested in the web, blogs were not really a thing. Personal websites were pretty popular with services like GeoCities and I remember looking at some of the really eye-achingly bad designs that came out of those and thinking that I could do so much better. So I did. Well... sort of.
I worked very hard on putting together a my own website. I wanted it to be a record of all of the movies, music, and books that I consumed with reviews and notes. It was ambitious, especially in a time when platforms for creating something of that size and scale were few and far between. There was no database, there was no backend, it was simply me in an HTML editor – very likely Dreamweaver or maybe even FrontPage – making all of these pages by hand and trying to be consistent. And in my memory it was great. I remember working on it for hours at a time, but I do not think I ever got around to actually publishing it anywhere. It is certainly one of those things that I wish I could go back and see what I was thinking about at the time. I still have a vague recollection of the design; mostly orange background with white text and graphic elements.
Jump cut to a few years later and platforms dedicated to blogging are beginning to pop up. LiveJournal and Blogger being the ones that I remember being the most popular so that put the timeline into the very late 90s and possibly the very early 2000s. LiveJournal was not my thing. I remember stumbling across it but only in passing. I was much more interested in Blogger and while I am sure I started a blog, I am not sure I ever did anything with it. And this becomes a pattern for the next several iterations of my trying to blog.
Longer Ago Than I Realize
As the years passed I tried my hands at the various platforms and engines that came along. MoveableType was a popular one among the designers I was following at the time. Then came WordPress which eventually became one of the primary tools for publishing on the web. Google bought Blogger and wrapped it into their growing list of services they offered. And there were plenty of others during this period. I remember I would either sign up or download and attempt to install and work with each one I came across with varying degrees of success. This turned out to be another pattern, one that I continue to do to this day.
It Never Sticks
The pattern of trying out a new blogging platform or service is something I continued to do and it would often be directed by the technology I was using at the time. There was a long period where I would try to find an engine built on .Net because that was what I was working with at the time. (I never came across one I liked. There were lots, but most were just clunky). I have forgotten how many times I have set up a new blog using WordPress. I tried micro-blogging with Tumblr and its clones. But nothing ever stuck.
Smash cut to today and I find myself doing the same.
I still like to investigate what options are out there and go through the process of setting something up, but I typically never get past two or three entries before I get distracted by something else. It often comes back to time and content. I have many other things that I like to do with my spare time; being on the computer working on my website has fallen way down on that list over the years. It is still a process that I enjoy, but only when the mood strikes.
Content is my bigger hang up. I typically would start up a blog with a theme and try to write on that theme; cooking, exercise and health, media, etc. But I am not an expert on any of those things, or maybe more than that, I do not feel like I can contribute anything that cannot be done better by someone else with more authority. That leaves very little to write about, so I tend to forget and ultimately just stop writing.
Is This Time Different?
I really do not know if this time is any different. I think I am more interested in the technology and the design of these things than I am in generating content. That being said, I feel like this iteration is more in line with what I started with so many years ago. I have a lot of flexibility to make the site be whatever I want it to be. I can create content in many different formats and I can update the site as needed to support it. I really do not have that many constraints. I can experiment as I want and when I want. The content itself is mostly Markdown and being saved in source control so it is not as likely to be lost.
I will just write as the mood strikes and see how long this lasts this time around.