Nine years ago tonight I took the blogging plunge … and, well, it was an entirely different blogosphere. Back in 2002, blogging was just a stampede of dorks who finally had an outlet for all of our dorky thoughts. We huddled together on sites like Mandarin Design (here’s an archive of the site, since, sadly, Meg passed away in 2006) for HTML and graphics tips, and traded links and idea. Desperate for anything to feed our blogs’ daily cravings for content, we took pictures of our lunches and clothes and lawnmowers and TV screens and neighborhoods (and actually had to hook our cameras up to our computers to transfer the pictures!), and in the process, ended up giving the world a glimpse into our lives. Photo and video sites sprung up to help house some of this content, until finally social networking came into its own. Anybody who wants to do what we were doing in the early days of blogging (which was just a page for general expression) can do it any number of way, but usually just Facebook and Twitter, but also Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, FourSquare, and on and on.
And now, here we are, on the cusp of 2012, and blogging isn’t what it used to be. If somebody these days identifies themselves as a blogger, they’re usually focused on a topic — and an agenda, be it profit or propoganda. The word has become synonymous with Gawker and Gizmodo and Huffington Post — sanitized, soulless, bloodless, professional, churned out several times a day by people you’ll never chat with. The Wild West Frontier of blogging is over, but I like to think that there’s a little of blogger spirit in everybody that posts on Facebook every day.
And even corporations are catching on: The national company I work for started an internal social network a couple of months ago, where each employee can start a “blog” of sorts, so today, on the ninth anniversary of this blog, I started my blog, and thus launched myself into our corporate blogosphere, and immediately felt the familiarity rush over me, like I was once again behind the wheel of a machine that had years ago become an extension of myself.
So look out, Corporate Social Network: The Bryk is back.
And for the future of BrykMantra.com, I resolve in the coming year to better integrate my blog into my other social sites and media projects (and vice versa). For starters, I think that surely there must be a way to have my Facebook posts automatically publish to WordPress, or the other way around … anybody out there know how to do this? Anyway, I’ll find a way to harness all the energies I’ve got going on, and then … well, I don’t know what then, but I figure that out when it happens.
And in closing, I don’t think I can say it better than I did last year:
Yes, it was eight years ago that I started my blog on Blogspot: I wrote an initial post that was something like, “I started a blog! I’ll post more tomorrow”, then I went to the local laundromat to dry my wife’s beauty shop towels (our dryer was on the fritz). While at the laundry, I hand-wrote a two-page post (while fighting against carpal tunnel syndrome), which I typed in and posted the next day.
It was a humble beginning, but the start of a major phase in my life. That next year, 2003, was when blogging really began to take off (Bloggers were named People of the Year by ABC News), and I was there on the ground floor. I had readers from all over the world, I made several friends among my fellow bloggers, at least four of whom (Gigglechick, RennyBA, Pamibe, Kim Novak) I’m still in contact with (mostly through Facebook), and I even got some measure of recognition for my blogging. More importantly, I felt part of a huge movement that was bringing the power mass communication to everyday people.
Now, though, the Golden Age of blogging is over, replaced by the shallower but more pervasive medium of social networking. I still keep my blog around, partly to anchor what I like to call the Brykmantra Content Network — my videos, photos and music — and partly as a base through which to channel a feed of my social networking posts.
A lot has happened in the eight years since I started blogging: The tumor and its removal, my establishinment of the brykMantra.com domain in 2005, the beginning of my ventures into music, the loss of three dogs and the acquisition of the two we have now, my job loss and subsequent new career (such as it is), and, most recemtly, my struggles with a detached retina. And, through it all, I have a record of my thoughts for each event.
And that alone makes it all worth it.
PS: Just in case I don’t get my Facebook page channeled through here, you can check it out here.