Welcome to my Cool Web Site

Recapturing the web of my adolescence

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.