Welcome to my blog. In the year 2018, it’s rumoured that blogs will matter even less than they do already. The truth is — they don’t matter to me a whole lot right now. I’ve been writing on Medium for the last long while. It’s just easier to rack up views there, and though I kept paying Digital Ocean $10 a month to host a Ghost blog, it really only acted as a place where I could put writing samples and anti-startup jeremiads (which I’d keep in my drafts, tbh). So I think it’s worth asking (and answering): why do this? Why make a weird peachy site when you can go blog freely on the enormous platform that Facebook or Google or Medium might give?
I Did It Because I’m Bored (by The Internet)
First, I had to figure out how to write CSS, which is something I had put off for 20 years only to suddenly find very easy thanks to this resource. Then I had to make Jekyll do my bidding; it’s not exactly welcoming as a CMS, and a lot of seemingly trivial things are not-so-trivial when viewed through the lens of static site generation.
This involved work, but mostly, it was fun. I enjoy learning, and I enjoyed getting to make a peach-flavoured site, and I enjoyed deploying it for free forever on Github. Above all, though, I did it because every other alternative bored the life from my eyes when I went to try to write there.
The last time I had this much fun posting a blog post was on Danger Point (I can see now that I kinda lifted the colour scheme from there). There are few concessions to readability and seriousness there, as here. There are gratuitous animations and stylistic elements; there’s colour. There is a wolf gif and another gif avatar that zooms around the background of the page.
Where before there’d merely been a cacophony of voices in so many subdomains, Medium redesigned the blogosphere into a clean, granite countertop where discourse could unfold civilly. There would be cork coasters on this granite island, and you’d put your naturally-processed Ethiopian coffee on it and go on to talk about stuff that people ought to share and like. I’ve used it a lot, and am buds with the folks that made it, and I just kinda hit the point where it felt like I felt more expectations about what’s okay to say on there than I had motivation to meet those expectations.
Weirdness is not a word that captures the state of blogging today. But it is what I crave, now, and it was how the web once was. A long, long time ago, in elementary school, fresh off a summer spent in my basement writing HTML and fucking with tables and frames, I pledged that I would make a dot com site. And even though
konoff.com was taken, I think I’m pretty close to my eight-year-old self’s vision of the Coolest Possible Internet.
Go forth. Learn CSS. Make the coolest thing you dreamt of making when you were a kid. I’d like to see more weirdness, so do it for me if you have to have a reason to start. I’d like to be surprised with more blogs that let someone tell a story with their words and their CSS. I’d like it if you surprised yourself by doing such a pointless, silly thing as saying something in the way that only you could, on a site you made yourself. Maybe it’s not a blog — who cares about bringing blogging back anyway?
There are other arguments to be made for having your own blog, but, again, who cares? Sure, this may be a more permanent thing in an era of ephemeral startups; it may enable me to more effectively build an audience (lol); it may make me seem cooler (I kinda doubt that). But far more important than all these factors is that I no longer experience massive cognitive dissonance in seeing my words conflict with the ethos of the place I’m meant to put them, and eight-year-old me would be proud of that.