For what is blog

Part of a series: For what is blog

While the north might be pulling itself out of Winter and into Spring, down here the opposite is occurring. The mornings are getting darker, the days are starting to shorten. Plants are still fruiting, but there’s a sense of urgency, like they know what’s coming. Ideal time for reflection.

I’ve been reading a lot about websites recently. Specifically, I’ve been reading about what I’m going to call Web Revival – a general reaction to the sanitised, siloed world of social media and the web as mediated commercial experience. It took me so long working out how I should call this whole movement here because it is, by its nature, fractured, decentralised, and organic.

Web Revival - or indie web, or small web, or what-have-you - is about the individual. It’s about having one little website that you build yourself, of making a part of the web conform to you rather than the other way around. It’s about hacking together some html and css and being fine with the fact that maybe thirty people will ever see the results.

As is the way, reading a gazillion articles about a thing will usually get you excited in some aspect or other of the thing. Reading a bunch of people’s posts about how they experience the internet, and how they author their own custom blogs, makes me think about what the experience of 1klb is like, and what it should be, and how I can get from here to there.

When I started 1klb, I was halfway through a degree in a career I didn’t really want, locked in by student debt and sunk-cost fallacy. I knew I needed a way out, but I wasn’t ready to just ditch progress and start again down some other path. Blogging was a way of having a web presence - of showing what I was doing in my spare time - of somehow linking skills to my name which weren’t just academic papers so I could point to them when confronting a prospective employer in an unknown field and go “I’m worthy of something, pay me money to do a thing?”

I think this comes through in my first few years of posting to here - it’s a lot of “let me demonstrate how I can solve a problem” coupled with my attempts to make something lasting or at least something I can put on the internet as evidence of my coding ability. It also comes through in volume: in the first three years I was averaging about 27 posts a year on here, whereas last year I posted here seven times. What can I say? I was a Ph.D. student, in a field I didn’t particularly like, with a bunch of spare time on my hands and a low thrum of anxiety to drive me.

At the end of 2014 I got my first real job, and my posting here took a hit. It turns out that having a 9-to-5 job, flat-hunting, and then settling into a new city will severely curtail your spare time for writing - plus, of course, the drive to publish had gone. I had good (well, adequate) employment, I’d switched careers - I’d made it! Technically not true in the short-term, as it’d take my failing out of that job, returning to my country of birth, and switching careers once again to get settled - but close enough. The patchy veracity of the facts doesn’t obscure the overall truth.

Since then the blog has been somewhat quiet. I’ve had about eight posts a year, or two posts every three months. It’s a good number to ensure that this place doesn’t look completely abandoned, even as it won’t win me any awards.

But that’s only really half the story, isn’t it? Even while web revival and its kin push host your own website, own your content, make a place that’s yours on the net - we have to acknowledge the lives lived in other places. And that’s what I’ll deal with…whenever part two of this is ready to air.