This post is inspired by the similarly named "Blogging and me"[archived], by Ana Rodrigues[archived]. In her post, Ana describes her blogging life, in particular how it hit a hiatus in 2012 due to her lack of confidence, impostor syndrome, and a feeling that she had nothing important to say. It's a really honest and insightful account, and I highly recommend reading it.
My experience with blogging started back in 2001, when I started learning how to program in PHP and to use MySQL. I ran many different platforms since then, including b2[archived], pyblosxom[archived], and Wordpress[archived] (I was always jealous of my friends running Movable Type[archived], with its beautiful typography, but I didn't have the money to pay for it). At some point, I started making my own blogging software, including one based on AJAX called webskine[archived] ("a web Moleskine"), back when AJAX was a new thing. I also had a microblog back in 2005 that would show only a single phrase and had an Atom feed.
Like Ana, I also stopped blogging somewhere around 2012. And like Ana, I also stopped blogging when I got my first job in tech, for similar reasons.
First, blogs were stagnating and people were adopting Twitter and Facebook. I built my current blogging software, nefelibata[archived], back in 2013 as a way of better integrating blogs with social media, bringing the conversation to where people were, while keeping my content where I owned it. But after a year I started working at Facebook, and that quickly became my new world.
Second, I was a self-taught programmer working with many brilliant people, and I felt everything I wanted to say could be said better by someone else. The things I learned were obvious, and I felt embarrassed that I didn't know them yet. Only many years later I would start overcoming my impostor syndrome, and to realize that because of it I was actually good at teaching and explaining difficult concepts.
Before 2012 I wrote probably a hundred posts about programming. As I was learning and falling in love with Python, I would write posts to share my excitement and new knowledge. In many of those posts I didn't know what I was talking about — I remember one where I called something "metaprogramming" which was just... programming — but that was OK, because I felt I was on some kind of journey. Learning was the norm.
I miss that feeling.
Last year I attended XOXO[archived] in Portland, and I met dozens of amazing online content producers. I remembered my old blog, and decided to start writing again. I bought back an old domain that I had many years ago, taoetc.org, a play on the expression "etc. e tal" from Portuguese. It captures well all the things I enjoy doing and all the things I've learned in my path through life.
And this year, as I was starting to get back into blogging again, I came across the IndieWeb[archived], a community of personal websites connected together by simple standards. Instead of having companies hosting (and owning) our content, each person has their own domain, their own data, their own blog, and they communicate with each other. This way we can build a decentralized social network that is fun, quirky and personalized, like the web was supposed to be.
As an example of how this works, later this month there's an event called IndieWebCamp 2020 West[archived], a "two days meeting up online to share ideas, create & improve personal websites, and build upon each other's creations." One of the ways of signing up is to make a post on your own weblog RSVPing yes, like I did here. My blog then notifies the IndieWebCamp website that I mentioned them using a W3C Recommendation[archived], and they check my answer to the event by extracting metadata from my post. Isn't that awesome?
It's good to be back.