It was 1996. Yeah, that was the year I gave up writing on beautiful paper in bound journals for blogging… only, it won’t actually be “blogging” for another two years.
I remember being on Mindspring. I wish I could somehow recover that site I made. My very first website. I’ve always had this feeling that one day I’m going to open up one of these shoe boxes (oh yes, Matt, I still have all those shoe boxes!) and find a ZIP disc with the files—Oh!—but I don’t have a ZIP drive anymore, now do I? And was there an ISP we used called Earthlink?…
Oh well, it’s just more of history I’ve got out there in this incredibly public space, but lost to me. I don’t even recall what my earliest username was—but!—I can still picture the page in my minds eye. The content I wrote. The photo I chose. The mailto: link that I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t show up (it being styled black, on—oops!—a black background) for hours in frustration the night I wanted to push my site live to the world.
It’s about this time that my mentor and manager prompted me to consider making my hobby my day job. Oh, how I’d caused chaos in the Creative Services department. I was just 17, and I in my spare time one day I completely redesigned our FileMaker Pro Creative Services trafficking database. I had restructured the database architecture, cleaned up and backed up the data, redesigned the user interface employing a grid, cleaning up the layout, and most importantly it’s flow, so that it more adequately mapped to the process we followed, and the way we thought and talked about it. There was a natural order to it, I just redesigned it so that it all made sense. So that it reflected that natural order.
Whoa. So, I can just remember how upset Michelle was. I’ll never forget looking at sweet, and so kind Michelle, livid and looking as though she was going to tear my head off! The whole department was in an up roar! I’d changed it… and these people were not interested in my change.
Well, so that was 1996 and a lot has changed since then, but then again maybe not so much. It was two tense days later, and now Michelle was raving in my cube again… only this time it’s in appreciation. She loves the new design. And I realize Barbara is right. I needed to put down the creative and step into the technology. Besides, they were all already calling me Doogie Howser, anyway.
It’s 15 year later.
My web log became a web site, my web site became my domain as I transitioned from being known around the office as Doogie (so not a sexy nickname!), to as “Spunky”, or “Gidget”.
Hmmâ€¦ was it Mindspring, or Earthlink? There was a different provider before that. And I had a GeoCities page too. Oh there must be a trail of lost memories still out there for me to find,… isn’t there?
Y2K. That’s the year that technology was to be our demise. Some might joke that it was. I still remember the day I met Curtis, and by the end of the day we were destined to be designer and developer, guild leader and guild leader’s girlfriend (and you’d better not even think of asking if I was a twink!!!). But before he would become master of my domain, he was to be the web host to my web domain.
He looked over his shoulder at me expectantly—what did I want to name my domain?… What? Huh? Oh. Man. I guess I had gotten caught up in the moment realizing that I should, could and would get a domain name and setup my very own website (goodbye Mindspring with that ~tilde in the URL!) that I hadn’t thought of just what I should name it.
Well it should be something that represents me.
But I’m a woman. I was already a divorced woman, even. So my name didn’t really seem to be the right idea. It would be nice to have something a little more ambiguous, room for personality and character, growth… and distinctive… and like…
But here we are. Fifteen years later, and I don’t write, and I don’t blog. The guy who made blogging mainstream kicked it to the curb in favor of micro-blogging. Only we don’t call it that anymore. It’s just Twitter.
And I don’t even really tweet anymore.
There just seems to be so much going on out there. Why would the world need my voice crowding out all the others I’d love to hear from?
Back then, it was only people I didn’t know who would read what I posted. Frankly, it was something comforting to me. Somehow looking back though, I can see how it is that I went in that time period from writing more conceptually and being reflective to more of a self-focused perspective… what else was blogging anyway?
Over time I started to learn that I was as anonymous as I thought I was. People would mention having “found me” on the Internet.
You know, because the Internet is actually this connected web. That’s how it works, you know.
That, and well there was also this little company that started when I started blogging. They had a simple hippy mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. And that’s what they did. And my anonymity went right out the door with it.
Suddenly it was a very different thing to sit down at my keyboard to write. How would my friends and family feel about the very personal things I was used to writing? This had been my freedom of expression anonymity being my cloak from scrutiny. Those posts don’t exist any more. I later removed all of those, leaving the skeleton behind where a personality once lived. I think I, well, I mean my blog, died out right about when RSS took off.
It was all that year. It was a very hard year. So much was happening in my life, but I no longer felt comfortable expressing myself freely. I didn’t return to pen and paper.
I just stopped.
A nonsensical memory—to you—which still draws a smile—to my face.
Yeah, so maybe I’m mad at Google.
I mean, I was raised on Judy Blume, but I couldn’t find the Kool-Aid. It was one thing to read
And for that matter, that reminds me of another factor…
Yeah, God. Are you there ,God? It’s Me…
June 7, 2011: Personal Tales, Writing Your Story via DailyOm
We all have a story to tell whether we publish it or keep it for just ourselves or family; allow yourself to be heard.
Everyone, at one time or another, has wanted to express his or her story. Writing a memoir to read privately, share with family or friends, or publish is an emotionally satisfying way to gain perspective on your experiences while sharing your unique voice. Weâ€šve all experienced feelings and events in our lives that we are longing to write down. Giving in to that urge can give you an outlet for purging any frustration, anxiety, or long-dormant feelings. No one else has to read it. You may even want to write your story without reading it right away. Satisfying the need to tell your story is not predicated upon your writing ability. It does, however take effort to write down the truth in detail. Your memories, captured on paper as descriptive scenes, sights, sounds, and scents, may at first seem disconnected or incomplete. But rest assured that you possess the ability to shape your recollections into stories.
Everyone wants to be heard. Reading your story to others can meet that need. Writing your story can also help you understand your life experiences. And when you finish writing, you may be surprised at what you have accomplished. Your story can encompass as much or as little of your life as you prefer. You may surprise yourself with new insights, or you may find yourself exploring your roots, your identity, and your future through your words. Allow your writing to guide you and write as truthfully as possible. Don’t worry about what others will think of your personal journey, your style of writing, or your words.
Research has shown that writing a personal narrative filled with feelings and perceptions can create long-term health benefits. As you write, remember to have compassion for yourself, particularly when writing about traumatic events. If you are a young person, you can add to your life story as you grow older. Your writing may help family members know you better, or they may understand themselves more through reading about your experiences. More importantly, you are expressing yourself in a permanent way, giving a gift to yourself, and letting your voice be heard.