Six years ago today I started a project of writing something live on the web every day. Back then we called that keeping an online journal or diary. Over time, what I was doing evolved, influenced by the software that started appearing, into something more closely resembling blogging.
In fact, Breathing Room was preceded (by one week) by a crisis log called The Daily Barbie that was my response to a threatened lawsuit from Mattel against my online ‘zine for hosting one of the versions of Mark Napier’s The Distorted Barbie. (Interesting sidenote: The online community reacted to this threat with store-and-forward “permanently dynamic mirror” of the artwork, exactly the way the Diebold memos are being circulated – see the first comment to this post from Lessig’s blog.)
I hadn’t yet worked out the last-entry-first convention, but during the two months (October and November, 1997) that I provided day-by-day live coverage of the threat letter and my response to it (along with links to legal documents and news coverage), I was given a glimpse of the power of the living web. Small wonder that I started my daily-writing project just a week later.
Now, I can’t claim six years of blogging. I’ve taken two long hiatuses (though neither rivals David Weinberger’s longest), and didn’t even manage a full year of daily entries before I determined that posting something every day was a good goal but not realistic or even entirely healthy.
My most recent sustained period of blogging began in January of 2002, when I set up a LiveJournal account (I had tried Blogger but not gotten much traction with it, for whatever reason – I think it was 2000 then and I was focused on making money before the tulipmania waned entirely). When I started RFB in July of last year, that kicked things up a notch.
Now, I am transitioning RFB into a group weblog, the better to cover the beat and relieve me of daily blogging-about-blogging (which leads to burnout, believe me). I realize that most of my friends and readers in the blog world know me through this Blogistan blog, and many link to it using my name as the linktext. I’ve always maintained a separate personal weblog, but haven’t generally promoted it as assiduously, as I expect it to be mainly of interest to people who know me personally or like my writing enough to want to read it regardless of the topic.
In time I’ve started a political weblog (which also has multiple contributors) and morphed my Memewatch site into a link log – the most fun, quick, and easy form of blogging, if you ask me. I’ve experimented with heavy use of categories and uncategorized blogging, and of course these multiple blogs. Now that I’ve set up monolog to capture all my online logging in one place. It’s probably the link I’d recommend associating with my name, but I’m not going to fight inertia.
I think Blogistan will get cooler with multiple voices. I’m still waiting for a response from one of the people I’ve asked to contribute, but I should be able to announce the contributors soon. One is already helping me work out the new template requirements (to provide bylines and author pages).
Breathing Room had an index of first lines (I was really into right-justification at the time), and I’ve always liked the “found poetry” effect a bunch of headings can make. (People often assume that the start page of this hyperstory is a poem, for example. [That background is so ugly! –ed. I know, I know.] Maybe someday, when I get Breathing Room (which was handcoded, static pages) imported into X-POLLEN, I’ll use Global Listings plug-in for MT to build a master list of all of my blog entries ever (well, aside from the ones at experimental, one-off blogs that haven’t been imported, but whatever). I think it might be cool.