category: THE WORLD WIDE WEB

20 Years of Blogging

23 years ago, in late 1994 (December?), I launched my first web site. I wrote about that on the web’s 20th anniversary.

Almost 21 years ago, on August 25, 1997, I launched this domain.

And 20 years ago today, I wrote what I count as my first blog post:

I decided to start this page to kind of accompany the what’s new page… except that page deals with new stuff on the site, while this page will give some brief updates about what’s been going on with me. Not terribly interesting, I admit, but people want to know these things, for whatever reason.

Right now, though, I’m too tired to bother doing much of an update… here’s now in a nutshell: 1 1/2 weeks of class left, less than 4 weeks to graduation, a month and a half until I leave for Vietnam, and three brain cells until mental destruction.

I had a section on my site for a while before this titled “what’s new sitewide,” which just acted as a changelog for the site itself. But this post was the start of a reverse chronological section I initially titled “what’s new lazewide” (I think) which eventually became “what’s up with laze.” Almost two years after my first blog post, I played around with pitas for a couple of months. On July 19, 2000, I launched twist of fait accomplis, the blog you’re reading now. I eventually rolled all the old content into twist of fait.

For a while there, I was blogging a lot. Multiple times a day. It was usually the types of things one would see today on Facebook: short life updates, links to things with commentary, daily link dumps from del.icio.us, and the occasional photo or embedded video. Sometimes I’d write longer personal essay-type things in a separate blog (now just a category of fait) named after a Ray Bradbury story.

I’ve had some posts go bonkers popular.

Like “Maury’s Blooper,” where I posted about a visit to The Maury Show and people began thinking that I was Maury. It was linked up on Metafilter after Matt Haughey mentioned it and gathered 765 comments before I shut commenting off.

In “Save the Drama for Your Mama” I wrote about how horrible the local FOX affiliate news was at the time, but it blew up because of a discussion in the comments about the time the weatherman, who was dating a reporter, allegedly cheated on her with another reporter at the same station. Oops. (Also, people have opinions about weather forecasters.)

Another popular post continues to be my interview with Phyllis Wilcox from 2002. Who is she? A woman who was very close with one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Henry Lee Lucas.

My post about Erika Sifrit, a former student at my alma mater that was thrown in jail for murder, continues to get visitors. I have an unapproved comment on that post sitting in WordPress that starts, “I was also in [prison] with Erika let me tell you she was a piece of fucking Shit.”

Perhaps most depressingly, my trolly-titled “Naked Nude Olsen Twins-amania” still draws pervs.

The blog was never huge, but it’s had its moments. The most important thing is that between it and the Ping, the blog captured the things I was reading, thinking, and doing for a long stretch of my early adult life.

These days I’m not writing in my blog as frequently. A few times a year. But not a month goes by where I don’t think, “You know, I should post to my blog again.” And since I’ve cut my Facebook usage about 95% since the beginning of the year, maybe I will finally do it.

After I finally catch up on my year-in-review posts going back to 2016…

 

20 Years of the Web

Today marks 20 years since the web became publicly available. To celebrate, why not visit the web’s first page at its original URL?

I put my first page on the web a little over a year-and-a-half later, in December 1994 as a freshman at Mary Washington College, thanks in large part to help from Ernie Ackermann. Mine was the second student web site on the college’s server (John Forrest had #1, if I remember correctly) and before long was challenging the college’s own home page in terms of amount of traffic (hits, pageviews, bandwidth, I don’t remember). The page had a picture of Grover sitting on the toilet.

I took some time today to look around a the oldest saved version of my site, from 1996. Lots of hideous tiled backgrounds, amusing content, and memories are contained therein. Here are a few pages of more general interest:

The web was a very, very different place back then. I remember when all backgrounds were grey (you kids and your gentle CSS gradients, you have no idea how good you have it!), there was no chance you could separate style from content in any meaningful way, cgi-bin was a scary but magical place, BLINK was perfectly acceptable, HTML tags had to be uppercase (and closing tags? HAH!), <b> and <i> weren’t frowned upon, and advice like “upload your files using telnet and ZMODEM” made sense. Shoot, I remember freshman year that it wasn’t clear the web was really going to become something huge and I simultaneously published some content on a gopher site because more people at the school knew about it.

Over the past 18 1/2 years, I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the web and make a living on it. While the feeling that I had in the mid-90s for the web is completely different from what I feel now, I’m still amazed every day at how the medium has grown and matured. If 1996 hideous-background-tiling me could see the 2013 web, he would be astonished at the beauty, the depth, and the mainstream acceptance it had gained. The web is still an awesome place to be.

Grover-potty[1]