I watched a film on Netflix last night by Werner Herzog, about the history of the internet, and the way it has affected life for people in the developed world. It was interesting – starting in the office at CalTech where the first packet switch came online in 1969 – seeing the notepad that recorded the first “computer to computer” conversation over the prototype network.
If you’re wondering, while trying to type “login”, they got as far as “lo” before the computer at the far end crashed. So the first post of any kind across the internet was just two letters – “lo”.
It struck me while watching that I have now been writing a semi-regular blog for in the region of 15 years. I had been using “the internet” since about 1995 – shortly after the Web appeared. I started out – along with many others – hosting my own blog, but quickly moved on to the likes of WordPress, Tumblr and LiveJournal. I remember back in about 2008 commenting to a friend that blogging as a “thing” on the internet seemed to be pretty much over. I think Vox had just folded (Vox was kind of Livejournal 2.0, but collapsed in the dot com crash along with nearly everything else).
For a time recently I considered kicking the entire “personal blog” into touch, and writing pieces “of consequence” over at Medium. That idea lasted about two days.
Whenever I walk away – and I have, several times – the thing that draws me back is always the rag-tag community of people I have come to know. I know this sounds stupid, but I think of many of you as old friends, and in some cases you know more about me than people in the “real world”.
Somewhere along the lines both mine and your blogs became an escape. A place to hide from the slings and arrows of daily life, and to share a story or two. We’ve laughed, cried, cringed, and stared in disbelief together. Some people seem to think it odd that I count quite a few people I’ve never met among my best friends. I say long may it continue.