Not too long ago, I wrote a post about meeting a friend I’ve known through blogging for the first time. And I don’t just mean meeting this particular person for the first time. I mean meeting someone I’ve only known through blogging for the first time. Ever.
In that post, I mentioned how I’d made friends through blogging all throughout the nearly 15 years that I’d been keeping a blog. That mention, that I’d been blogging since 2005, prompted jaimieweb to pose the question, “How much has blogging changed since 2005?”
I have no doubt that Jaimie meant for this to be a perfectly innocuous question, genuinely asking what’s different now, opposed to 15 years ago. But when I first read her comment, I laughed to myself. Because, honestly, it sounded like the kind of thing you might ask your grandpa…
“How have the movies changed since you were a kid, Gramps?”
“Well,” said the old man, “when I was your age, I could pay a quarter and watch the picture shows all day long!”
No, I really don’t think she meant to imply that I’m old. Though, statistically, I probably skew older than most of the bloggers in my particular circle. Jaimie, if you meant to imply I’m old, I’m okay with it. But I’m gonna go ahead and assume that wasn’t your intention.
Still… I thought it was kind of funny.
However, it did get me thinking. Has blogging changed since 2005? I mean… Think about how different the world in general is compared to the mid-2000s. I’m sure blogging has changed.
I took the time to look back and I realized I lied. I haven’t been blogging since 2005. I’ve been blogging since December of 2004.
15 years ago today, I joined the blogging community at Blogger. At the time, I was calling my blog The Single Guy. My first post was called “Self-Titled Debut.” It was all about how, in spite of so many of my friends from college growing up, getting married, and starting families, I was still comfortable just being the group’s single guy.
I even referenced a short-lived sitcom starring Jonathan Silverman called The Single Guy. It was about that single guy in his group of friends, while all the others were married. That show didn’t make it that long. But here I am, 15 years later, still single… still blogging.
Though, I suppose my blog(s) have made me just as successful as that TV show was…
I digress. At first, I only posted occasionally to The Single Guy. Once or twice a month on average. At one point, I even forgot my password and neglected to post anything while I had no clue how to log in.
Midway through 2005, I stopped blogging at that particular site. But that’s because I discovered the wonders of MySpace. Simpler time, 2005… Anyway, I think I convinced myself that more people were reading what I wrote on MySpace’s version of a blog than they were on Blogger. So I exclusively shared my thoughts on MySpace for about a year and a half.
It wasn’t until several months after my dad passed away that I rediscovered The Single Guy. Not long after that, I really got into blogging regularly. When 2008 rolled around, I vowed to post something every day. And I stuck to that. Well, I did in 2008, anyway.
I tried to post daily in the years following, too, but wasn’t such a stickler for it. If I missed a day or two, it wasn’t the end of the world.
These days, I do like it when I’m able to post something every day. Clearly, though, I’m not bent out of shape over missing days… even weeks at a time.
A few years into blogging at The Single Guy, I was convinced to change the name of the blog to Carp Dime. I can’t remember who convinced me that was a good idea. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was a friend or friends in North Carolina, where I was living at the time. Anyway, the blog became Carp Dime, which hearkens back to a really great story from college. I won’t hash that out now, but you can click here to read what Carp Dime means.
When I started attending Northstar Church back in 2013, Jeff, my pastor and friend, began trying to talk me into moving my blog home to WordPress. I know I’ve mentioned all this before, but it’s part of my blogging journey, so you get it again.
Anyway, I was hesitant. At that point I had nearly 2,000 blog posts posted at Carp Dime. That’s a lot of work to put into something just to drop it and move to a different blogging platform. But Jeff was insistent. He told me over and over how WordPress had a much better community and was very user friendly.
I put it off until I reached my 10th anniversary with Carp Dime and decided the beginning of the new year would be a good time to begin a new blog right here on WordPress.
Thus, on January 1, 2015, The Confusing Middle was born.
At first, I had no idea what to call this new blog. I couldn’t call it Carp Dime. That URL was still taken by my old blog. Carp Dime 2 just didn’t make any sense. I asked friends for suggestions and one of my college friends, Andy, came through like a champ.
Some of my favorite failed suggestions were Major Plot Holes of D2: The Mighty Ducks, An Incomplete History of Waffle House Bathrooms, The Ink Stained Teeth of Gabriel Martin, and It’s Pronounced Egregious.
Addressing plot holes in one Mighty Ducks sequel wouldn’t have been sustainable. And it would have painted me into a corner pretty quickly. As would the one about Waffle House bathrooms. There are only so many of those and, let’s be honest, I avoid Waffle House bathrooms whenever possible. As for those last two titles, you get bonus points if you can tell me what each of those is in reference to. If you have a guess, let me know in the comments.
I don’t know if I can answer Jaimie’s original question: How has blogging changed since 2005? I think I’ve changed more than blogging itself has changed. Then again, a lot of things about myself are absolutely the same. My blog may not be called The Single Guy anymore, but I’m still the single guy in my group of friends.
MySpace basically isn’t a thing anymore… I mean… is it? I bet if I tried to log into my old MySpace account, I’d screw up the password so badly that it’d probably kick me off the internet anyway.
I’ve never attempted to make money through blogging. Though, I guess that’s kind of the dream. I have no idea how one even goes about monetizing a blog. So I’m not famous. There isn’t a publisher who’s happened to stumble upon something clever I’ve written and offered me a book deal. Still keeping my fingers crossed that the old “Legends of the Bank Teller” series could be turned into something. I’m thinking The Office, but in a bank.
I’m probably a little naive when it comes to understanding how a blog becomes popular or goes viral or even gets noticed by the WordPress powers that be to become one of their “Freshly Pressed” posts. I don’t know how all that works. I don’t know what they’re looking for or even if they have certain criteria that I just don’t meet somehow. I like to think I’m a decent writer, though I could be deluding myself.
Good chance I’m the wrong person to ask about how blogging has changed in 15 years. Because I still do it the same way I’ve been doing it for 15 years. I write because I like to write. I take breaks from it because I get burned out and hit the dreaded writer’s block from time to time. But I never write a post hoping that the right person will read it and share it to social media. I never write anything that caters to anyone’s tastes in particular. Maybe that’s why I’ll never be one of those famous bloggers with thousands of likes and comments on every post.
I guess the only change that’s come for me is my own use of social media. No, I don’t expect any of my posts to suddenly blow up with traffic. But that won’t stop me from trying to get at least a little attention through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Those are the platforms where I share links to my latest posts. If people find me and like me, great. If not, I’ve lost nothing.
2020 is only a few weeks away. I’m coming up on my five-year blogiversary with The Confusing Middle. I’m thinking of ways to celebrate this milestone, so stay tuned in the new year.