WHAT IS A WEBLOG?

Site under construction. Thank you for your patience.

FRIDAY, APRIL 17TH, 2020

As you might have already guessed, this website is an exercise in deconstruction, or history, or nostalgia - a retroactive attempt, in the spirit of its Neocities host, to at least partially return to the Internet as it was - before Web 2.0 and the age of algorithms, before content was whisked away behind a PHP portal into the powerful and dangerous dimension of the Internet megacorporation, what some might misidentify as "the Cloud." While it would be self-centered and foolish to ignore the unfathomable changes brought upon by Web 2.0's unparalleled accessibility to the masses, it is also worth remembering the period of the Wild Wild Web, when those few who could code possessed an unparalleled freedom and creativity.

The blogs of the mid-to-late 2000s, already an ancient relic buried under the sands of social media, were themselves the prototypes of social networks, and were borne out of a much smaller group of OG "weblogs" from the late 1990s. These weblogs were written in HTML and provided a more long-form and selective curation of the Internet than its rapid-fire descendants. I am exploring weblogs, and other aspects of late-1990s website development, not to completely undo the technologies of the present but to look back, as a historian often does, into the past, to identify what was lost or hastily dismissed and maybe bring some valuable lessons back to our own period.

I was greatly inspired by this 20-year-old essay by Rebecca Blood about the history of weblogs and the emergence of the first wave of blogs. To Rebecca, weblogs are the thoughtful, long-form curation and commentary one might have found previously in a bourgeois newspaper, while the emergent wave of blogs focused more heavily on the momentary and the minutiae. She, like myself, considers both to be valuable in their own right, and I'm hoping to make a little bit of both. But the bottom line here is that the period of unmediated mediation, in which writing is not embedded in the megalopolis of Silicon Valley data centers, not carefully secured behind Terms and Conditions and feeding into the corpulent beast of the Adgorithm, might be a more elegant, dignified, and liberatory epoch to emulate here.

So what am I going to publish here? I'm not going to limit myself to a particular genre or subject just yet, and I'm hoping to use this space to motivate myself to write more formally about the media I consume, critical analysis of both news and history, and personal memories or interesting stories. The sphere of this section will drift more closely into the orbit of "nonfiction" than "fiction," but I want it to be creative, interesting, and open-ended on all fronts. Thanks for reading!