Let me paint you a picture: The year is 1997. I’m a sophomore in high school. I’m obsessed with music and have busted on to the live music scene with gusto. I keep a scrapbook full of all of my ticket stubs and wristbands from shows but it’s not enough. I want to be able to look at my Show Inventory in one place, be proud of it, and share it with others. I took to the internet and, without knowing it at the time, started a blog (I don’t think the word blog existed in 1997). I taught myself some basic HTML, signed up on Homestead.com (wow, it still exists), and made my very first website/blog. It had a bright red background (the most sophisticated RGB code I could figure out at the time) with a full list of bands I had seen, in the order that I had seen them, in one unbroken line of text separated by stars (*). Imagine my sense of accomplishment when I figured out the HTML code for bold and could boldface the bands I had seen more than once! I was in my element and I loved it.
In 2001 I started a formal blog on LiveJournal to chronicle my freshman year of college and beyond (i.e. a special brand of growing up related angst no one should read). In 2003, with actual HTML skills under my belt, I started three different websites: thisisgrowingup.com (essentially photoblogs and recipes), craftandburn.com (all of my crafty and DIY projects), and trashortreasure.com (where I would scan and post all of the random forgotten things I found at my job at the Boston Public Library and come up with a verdict: trash or treasure). I continued my dialogue with the internet at large about the most important thing in my life: me. Those early days of “blogging” were narrow and internally focused but kept me passionate about writing, photography, crafting, and carving out time to articulate all of the thoughts running through my head.
I’ve been thinking about this theme a lot – who bloggers are and what defines us. I’m not talking about people with Tumblr accounts or fairweather bloggers. I’m talking about those of us who write several times per week. Bloggers who really have something to say from a distinct point of view. Those who catalog their joy in words, photographs, lists. We The Bloggers.
In my experience and observations, We The Bloggers are actually quite shy in real life, preferring the intimate corners of the world, writing about our experiences so that we can savor them, hold them, commemorate them. I started writing about my life online way back when because it was easier for me to communicate that way, to form well crafted thoughts, and write eloquent sentences that I could stand behind rather than cringe at the word vomit that may pour out of my mouth in person. I had a hobby, I got lost in it.
We The Bloggers love life but value archiving it as much as we enjoy living it. I think there are two camps in life: life’s players and life’s spectators. We The Bloggers are spectators. And I mean that in a kind way. Spectators appreciate the details, savor the intricacies, collect all the facts, can be counted on for accuracy. We experience life and can explain it back to you. Life’s players are gregarious extroverts, out living life and seizing days. We The Bloggers are counted on to share the possibilities and are relied on to make meaning of it. For example, in my world my husband is the player, I am the spectator. He’d never blog about a fraction of the things he does because he’s out doing them. He doesn’t take long pauses in life to contemplate what’s been completed. I’m the opposite; I need those deep periods of rumination to enjoy my life. I, as a spectator, found a way to happiness through blogging about my life. I have briefly discussed this idea of squeezing the most out of an experience to really find happiness in it. Blogging is a part of that process for me.
When I was a teenager, making a master list of bands I’d seen, I didn’t know it would become a lifelong passion. I didn’t know that spending time in front of the computer, cataloging my memories would feel right forever. It did then and it still does now.