My buddy Bryan pretty much invented a Blogger for himself out of php back in 1998. It connected to a site called Disturbance, a combination journal, rant factory and review of the world at large. Bryan taught me the trick of commenting out various parts of an entry so only your friends could see them: Went to the in-laws’ for Christmas. It was interesting, to say the least.<–my wife is a psychotic and each day with her is an agony that even suicide won’t erase–> Of course, anyone who knew how to view the source could do that, but most of the “reading public” was oblivious.
Back then, people thought putting your stuff online was weird. It also looked really bad in AOL, so how could anyone even read it?
I started my first real blog Joshery back in 2001 or so on Blogger. I had the Uberhaus site up long before that, but it was HTML and FTP, so it didn’t really count. Blogger was great. There was this tiny self-referential community of people who read and commented about each other’s posts. Some of them were great writers. Some had interesting lives. Some were hilarious, some were so depressed that subsequent comments were all in the form of some kind of intervention (DON’T JUMP, DUDE, etc). None of it was terribly topical, but it was interesting.
The question of “Why?” was always answered “Why not?” Why not write an ode to my cat? Why not talk about how I get kicks out of stepping on the scale holding a pair of dumbbells and setting them down so I can know how it feels to drop fifty pounds? WHY THE HELL NOT?
But then it started to become a Thing. Everybody had a blog. I think everyone believed the answer to the question “Why” was “Because.” Because I can make money. Because I need to promote myself. Because my agent told me that my fans want to connect with me (yeah, right.)
It’s all so… icky.
But it’s not all bad. You know why? The comments. Not the real comments. The paid-by-post comments. Here is one I have gotten maybe twenty variations of.
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I have a problem. They can fix it. It might be a browser problem. It might be SEO. Or the good ol’ penis.
There are these, too:
I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this information for my mission.
Hi! I found your blog on AOL.Its really comprehensive and it helped me a lot.
There are lots like that. Copy, paste, repeat. The comments have nothing to do with the content. They always employ curious spelling and curiouser syntax.
Aweseme info. I used to spend a lot of my own time water skiing and being associated with games. It was possibly the best time of my past along with your blog kind of reminded us of that amount of my life. Cheers
But my favorites by far are the weird, semi-coherent machine-made ones that still manage to retain a human touch.
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These are usually larded with HTML links and keywords.
I mean, who pays these people to do this? Is this what it means to start your own business?