20 years of blogging
Well, it's 2023 and we've seen a nice resurgence of blogging and a new emphasis on the decentralized web in recent months. From Mastodon to micro.blog and many others, it's exciting to see so much energy. Along with all of this new energy, I've seen quite a few posts from folks who have been blogging through these past couple of decades, often reminiscing and celebrating the return to the decentralized, self-published web.
In one such post a couple of months ago, someone mentioned they had been blogging for 20 years. It occurred to me that was probably true for me as well so I visited the Wayback Machine to see if I might find my old blog. An interesting trip down memory lane seeing that old bit of my personal internet history! My first blog dates back to March 2003.
Previous to that blog I had set up my first website in 1997. Liberated Existence was not technically a blog but I posted weekly updates to a news section. Some were updates about our various local projects, others were news happenings of interest to leftist activists. The main site included a little network of sub-sites that served different purposes and projects. A sampling of our various projects included a micro-radio station, Food Not Bombs, and a Memphis branch of the IWW. Most days from 1997 to 2003 included some sort of update to Liberated Existence or one of the sub-sites.
I have so many fond memories of time spent learning html and then css. From the technical aspects of building and maintaining a website to the excitement of publishing online. As an activist who had been publishing zines, newsletters and several small community newspaper projects along side of a micro radio station that was shut down twice, the potential of the early, decentralized internet was inspiring. It felt like we were building something together. I'm glad to see the excitement again.
This time around I'm hoping that there is a new awareness of what happens when people give up control of their publishing to corporations. We've got 15+ years of Facebook and Twitter as an example of what not to do going forward. We can't know where this new-old path will lead but it seems better. And I hope we'll protect it better than we did before.