Twelve Years of Blogging

I just realized, with less than 90 minutes to go, that today is my blogaversary. I started blogging twelve years ago today.

What are my secrets to continuing to blog after all this time? One: even though I don’t blog as much as I used to, I never decided to shut it down. (Well, except for that time I quit blogging for a year.) Two: I never publicly promised to rededicate myself to blogging more frequently, so there was nothing for me to live up to and therefore no reason to think I wasn’t blogging enough. I just blog when I want, about what I want.

That’s pretty much it, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.

And on we go.

How Do You Read My Blog?

I have a question for my readers: how do you find out when I’ve made a new blog post?

Do you use an RSS feed, like Google Reader? Do you come here from Twitter? (I automatically post a tweet when I put up a new blog post.) Or do you just go directly to to see if there’s new content?

Just curious.

Ten Years of the Tin Man

Ten years ago today, I started this blog.

A year later, I wrote a first-anniversary post in which I went into detail about how and why I started blogging, how my blog got its name, how blogging had changed me, and a list of my favorite entries from that first year. If you’re interested in any of that, it’s all there.

Blogging has changed a lot in ten years. At the beginning of 2001, blogging was still pretty new — except to some people — and most blogs were either linkblogs, personal journals, or a combination of the two, like this one. Then 9/11 happened, and blogging went mainstream — but it came to be epitomized in the public mind by warbloggers and political bloggers.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One, the news media started to care about blogs only when blogs started to cover their territory — the news — so that’s how most of the general public was introduced to blogging. Two, the news media didn’t really care about other types of blogs; how do you explain to the masses such blogs as those by Jason Kottke or Matt Haughey or Anil Dash?

Then blogging became monetized, and most new blogs were launched with a focus on just one topic: politics, or home design, or being a mom, or making one’s way through Julia Child’s cookbook. Many of the personal blogs like mine started to fade away.

And then Facebook and Twitter appeared, and now nobody blogs anymore.

I miss the days when lots of gay guys blogged. We had our own homo blog community that spanned the nation and even the world. I made some good friends that way, and I even found my partner. There were lots of bloggers I never even met, and I miss them: bloggers like Closet Boy (what ever happened to him? I hope he’s out of the closet and living a happy life) and the Daily Dean (who, according to the photo on his faculty page, is as hunky as ever).

I really don’t understand why so many people stopped blogging. People claim to be too busy or too lazy or to have run out of things to say. That’s too bad, because I can learn so much more about people through a couple of paragraphs they’ve written than through their 140-character tweets. Reading a blog entry is like catching up with a friend; reading Twitter is like speed dating. When I post a new blog entry, I feel like I’m inviting you into my home, even if you’re reading this through an RSS reader. But when I tweet, I feel like I’m just throwing it out there into the agora where there’s nothing to distinguish it from anyone else’s tweets. It’s just noise — a stream of pithy data coming at you.

But I must confess: I myself once quit blogging. I had let my blog take over my life, and I needed to stop. A year later, I came back, after realizing that I could blog without baring my entire soul, that I could make my blog whatever I wanted it to be instead of letting it or its readers control me. Ever since then, my blog and I have had an understanding: I’m the boss.

You know what, though? I recently went back and skimmed through those highlights from my first year of blogging, and there were several incredibly soul-baring posts in there. There were times when I really lay myself out on a table for everyone to see. In some ways I feel I was a better writer back then, or at least a more interesting one.

Such is the price of stability, I guess.

Oh, one last thing: after I got to the end of writing this, I was curious to know what the traditional tenth anniversary gift is.

You know what it is?


I think that’s funny.

Or aluminum, I guess, but “The Aluminum Man” doesn’t have quite the same ring.

Happy tenth anniversary, blog.

real tin man
(Explanation of photo here.)


After more than nine years of blogging, I have finally begun using tags on my blog posts. I added them over the weekend. You’ll see them at the bottom of each post.

And with the help of the Simple Tags plugin for WordPress, I can search old posts for certain keywords and automatically tag those that are relevant. I have nearly 5,000 posts on this blog, so I don’t think I’ll be able to tag all of them, but for all future posts I’ll be using tags, so if you’re reading a post, you’ll be able to find my other posts that discuss similar content. For example, here are all my posts about my favorite movie, Back to the Future.

Now I just need to remember to use tags whenever I write a new post.