My Blogging History
I didn’t make it big (obviously) but I had many tries. Maybe, too many. Wait. Did I really try?
I tried to blog as early as freshman year in HS using Yahoo. It was called Yahoo 360, if my memory serves me right. So that was around the year 2005 when I was still renting computers at a nearby internet cafe to chat with friends while cringing at couples taking webcam pictures as they’re PDA-ing on the cubicle next to me. I don’t remember if I was even successful at launching that because I was a total tech newb. I just kept clicking what buttons made sense to click next but I do remember that that very first blog post was about the year’s Miss Earth beauty pageant.
It’s hilarious, I know — but really! I was so fascinated by beauty pageants when I was young and I truly believed that women who win the crown are not only advocates of “world peace”, but they do become powerful leaders who make real change. Because that’s how they are advertised, right? But you know, when your height stops increasing while your age doesn’t, you realize that to be a beacon of hope and compassion, you don’t need to parade yourself in a bikini on stage. You don’t.
Anyway, shush this bitter girl. Back to the topic!
I immediately gave up after that one post ’cause I didn’t have the luxury of both time and money to keep exploring Yahoo 360. And after freshman year anyway, social media was all the rage while YM was slowly dying. For some time, Multiply was also very popular. Those days were fun because Multiply was so customizable and it was the first thing that got us close to having our own website. We even created personalized themes and felt so cool for having a place in the virtual realm that matched our style and profiles. But the space that contained the many, many remnants of my angsty, tumultuous, emotionally volatile pubescent years was Friendster.
And I sooo thanked the heavens when they redesigned their service!
Yes, you can blog at Friendster circa 2007. Your profile had a separate page for blogging and there was a bulletin board mostly used for sharing personal questionnaires, which was initially a fun trend until you get sick of answering the same old questions that didn’t really mean anything.
When the dawn of Facebook arrived and I was in college, I used FB Notes for blogging. They didn’t look nice so I stopped after a few entries and just resorted to writing lengthy posts that embarrassed me eventually as they appeared on other people’s feeds. There were no filters back then and posting almost meant, “I’m ranting/introspecting/hallucinating, listen to me! You’re my in my friends list so you want to know. Actually, you should know. I want you to know.”
However, even though I regulated my compulsion to vent on FB, the lazy me still didn’t keep a proper journal. My only writing confidante back then were my handy dandy notebooks and random pieces of paper — yellow paper, clean paper, scratch paper, rejected versions of my term paper. (Yes, I called them handy dandy notebooks because they were thick, small notebooks with a huge spring on top.) They were mainly used to contain my to-do lists, but scattered in between the pages of those lists were little notes and pieces of my frustrating and depressing college life.
I might have thrown them away when I decluttered my space and my life because I don’t really feel much delight reminiscing those times. Recently, I’ve resolved not to create and keep memoirs of things I don’t want to remember. I may have written wholeheartedly about certain moments and people but if the memories will bring a pang of sadness (or at least, embarrassment) in my heart, then maybe, it’s best that I do throw them away. I can write about the lesson because moments of distress are learning experiences — but for every learning experience, it is only right that you take nothing but the lesson with you.
Some time back then (I just checked — 2009), I knew I wanted to blog again so I created another Wordpress site. “Another” because I know I’ve created one before, although the memory of it is very faint. As of this point, counting the number of platforms I’ve tried, we’re at five. If I’m right, then this would be my sixth attempt on being a “blogger”.
Unfortunately, after I have spent time to fill the About page, I stopped using the blog. I honestly don’t remember exactly why. Was it the busyness or was it because the self I defined that time didn’t feel sincere? Come on. Does anyone who really know me think I will associate my self-definition with the words: crazy, engineering and Perez Hilton??
They don’t even make sense sharing the same expanse of thought, right? Even the blog’s name didn’t have a connection to my identity.
Fast forward to joining the workforce at 20, when life has gotten better for me, I became too pre-occupied with the perks of earning your own money that I totally forgot about writing. I just got back to blogging around the year 2014 when I was trying to find ways to make myself genuinely happy as I eventually got uninspired by work, life and perhaps, the person I’ve become. I had the means to go out and explore so I tried to find inspiration to write again. Possibly this time, about happy thoughts for a change.
I was trying to be cool that I looked for other sites where I can blog as everyone else was on Wordpress and Blogger. I really didn’t understand how Tumblr was supposed to work (and I still don’t) so I couldn’t use that. Ghost, while still in its infancy, looked promising so I signed up with them.
Quick recount: Yahoo 360, Multiply, Friendster, FB Notes, Wordpress and now, Ghost. (Sorry but as you can tell, this isn’t where the list ends.)
Only one friend knew I blogged that time. I wrote about the events I attended, super random things I did and books I bought (bought not read), but not one entry on topics I used to write about so passionately.
Months passed and all the shallow writing didn’t feel like was my thing. Why was I blogging about things I didn’t even tell my friends of? I’m really bad at small talk but why did I blog like I’m engaging in small talks… with myself?
I doubt that I had any reader ’cause when I used to check my stats, I only had two views most of the time, if not zero. Which were probably from me after publishing the post and still me, viewing it on my phone later.
I don’t think that that one friend read it at all because it’s awful small talk. He knows how I speak, how I write and how I enjoy sharing long conversations — though not always deep and insightful, still bear a hint of substance. This blog had none.
Nevertheless, it broke my heart when I decided to take it down. I liked the simplicity that Ghost offered but I was in a phase where I really didn’t know what I was trying to achieve. I was in the middle of wanting to share stories but scared of being open — which consequently made the site contain only meaningless chatter. Heck, I haven’t even read those books! What was I blogging about??
Though they were happy moments, I wrote about them like an awkward wannabe who forces herself to share something while overthinking the reception waaay before hitting the Publish button, and shares for the sake of posting something on the world wide web.
That’s not me. More importantly, that’s the kind of online persona I try my best not to be. Mema lang?
It wasn’t practical to still keep it as months of paid subscription has already passed and I was still stuck.
When the roller coaster of emotions started running again, I resolved to go back to writing on journals instead. The one I had was given by a friend as a gift to congratulate me for overcoming an all-consuming struggle. (I’m sorry Em, I failed again eventually.) The trouble is, I barely wrote on paper since the first day I was done with school. In effect, my illegible penmanship got worse and my hand gets strained too quickly. I was already physically tired before I even finish one entry.
Thereafter, I looked for sites when I can blog again and found Exposure and Medium. I just got bit by the travel bug and I knew I wanted to share my photos so I signed up at Exposure. Photo narratives at Exposure look really beautiful, except for one thing that doesn’t work for me — which is the spacing when a story includes lengthy texts in between photos.
I didn’t intend for my site to be some sort of travel blog. It just so happens that the stories I want to and could only share are mostly from my trips. I bring my camera with me almost always but I can’t publicly post private gatherings and faces of my family or friends without their consent.
Looking at the way I write my stories there, you could tell that some are talky while some aren’t. And that’s concerning because it goes back to that shallow-writing phase but trust me, I’m trying to figure something out. I knew I couldn’t write about my introspection in Exposure so that’s why when I realized later on what Medium was all about, I was in.
Finally! Whew! Eight platforms — six forsaken, two in progress.
So now, why this recall? Why share this very long history of my unremarkable and futile blogging attempts?
I guess it’s because I want to find out why I keep trying. And I had to dig through to the past to remind myself that I had too many tries. How much do I really want to pursue this?
Perhaps, this is also because I want to remember how much I loved writing and that I found blogging to be a good creative exercise. It’s uninterrupted sharing of thoughts and opinions — one we sadly often lack during spoken conversations.
For whatever fear that stunned me, I should have fought back for the mere reason that I get to know myself better each time I write. I could have made wonderful stories had I wrote down all the mess in my head throughout the years, whether they be good or bad.
That despite many periods of dormancy, the desire kept trying to resurface and that somehow, at the back of my mind, I was terribly missing it as well.
It could have been a talent that flourished. It could have been a passion that led me to paths different from where I am today.
I wasn’t extraordinary or phenomenal at writing, and I never held my skill at high regard but that doesn’t matter — this is no contest.