I Was Blogging Before It Was Cool

How long have you had your blog?

I was asked that question recently, and I realized it’s kind of a long answer … 

I have been blogging before we called it blogging. Well before blogging was anything other than just dumping your thoughts on a web page and maybe connecting with other people. Businesses didn’t blog, there were no personal brands, no weekly themes, no site stats. It was a simpler time.

In high school, I learned HTML for a class project. This was 1998, and a public school, so it was kind of progressive. It was a history class, and the project was turning our research papers into web pages. I enjoyed the turn-into-web-pages part so much more than the writing-a-research-paper part. I decided that I wanted to manage web sites when I grew up. (And hey! That’s what I do! Living the dream.)

Anyway, back to high school. I started “making web sites” for fun. On Angelfire. Eventually I started adding my sad (as in bad, but maybe slightly sad), angsty teenage poetry to my web site, and then I started writing a journal on it. A web log. Or blog, if you will. Luckily, I have lost track of my old web sites. It’s probably for the best. (I still have my paper journals somewhere, so I can still read all that cringe-worthy stuff.)

During my first semester of college (fall 2000), I discovered LiveJournal (LJ). WHOA. This site does the work for me. I no longer have to manually code my online journal. And I can read other people’s journals! So I created an LJ account and went to town. I let it all out, and made some “LJ friends” (mostly other young ladies also in college). And it was the early 00’s, so we didn’t really filter ourselves. If I wanted to share the details of being dumped, I put it all out there. If my friend was bugging me, I wrote about it (and sometimes got in trouble). To this day, I still keep in touch with a handful of my LJ friends who I have known for almost 14 years. (These days we keep in touch mostly via Facebook.)

Earlier this year, I met two of those friends for the first time. It was kind of random that I happened to meet them both in the same month. (And I met two other LJ friends years ago.) In all cases, even though it was our first time meeting, it didn’t feel that way. I’m sure most of you, having met blogging friends in person, can relate.

One of the friends happened to be passing through Chicago, and we were able to meet for lunch. Her husband is a musician with the travelling tour of a musical. She is a professinal ballerina (which is how she met her husband). We didn’t take a picture when we were together, but it was nice to finally meet! And it was kind of fun that she, the professional dancer, was impressed that I was taking burlesque classes. (Meanwhile, I stare in awe at her ballerina pics on FB.)

The second friend I met lives in Chicago, and it wouldn’t have been hard for us to meet sooner (than 14 years later), we just never did. We were recently chatting on Facebook about all of our friends no longer wanting to do fun things like stay up late dancing. So she invited me to join her for some dancing. And we’re both photobooth addicts.

Screen shot 2014-02-01 at 10.57.22 PM

Anyway, back to my history of blogging. Eventually, [almost] everyone abandoned LiveJournal (wanted to be more private, started blogging elsewhere, or MySpace and Facebook filled that void). Then blogging as we know it now blew up, and in 2008, I started the blog that eventually became magmilerunner.com. (It’s true, click on the Archives drop down on the right – but my oldest posts were short and random. I didn’t really get into this blog until 2009, when the hubs was away at Boot Camp, and it wasn’t until 2010 that I started running and therefore blogging about running.) And obviously, I’ve also met lots of friends through this blog. So, blogging’s been making me friends since 2000. Whoa.

Anyway, thank you, Internet, for being what you are. (And giving me a cool job.)

How and why did you start your blog? 

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20 Comments on “I Was Blogging Before It Was Cool”

  1. Haha, I had a crappy little site through Angelfire (or maybe geocities?) in college – lots of angsty poetry! Then I got a xaanga when I first moved to Chicago (and got a job, since I didn’t have internet or a computer at home). For whatever reason I hadn’t heard of LJ, but it was basically the same thing. I got it alllll out there as a single girl in a new city. My page got deleted, which is probably for the best too. Lots of awkward dating and drinking stories there.

    I started my own cooking blog in 2009 because I didn’t want to annoy my FB friends with food pics and recipes, started co-authoring a style blog in 2010 with a friend in Brooklyn, and then started my current blog in late 2011. I just like writing and having my blogs to look back on. I never thought anyone would ever read my blog, much less turn into a friend because of it!

  2. Ha ha ha, wait, I want to hear more about this vent about friends who don’t want to do anything “fun.” LOL! Are these friends who used to like to stay up late dancing, and don’t anymore? Or did they ever like it? I am laughing – I struggle to stay up until 10:00 (I get up kind of early), and I remember you saying no one wants to stay up late (maybe in a comment on my blog).

    That is cool you got to meet your LJ friends! It would be fun to know a ballerina and hear all about the “backstage” stuff related to dancing.

    I remember asking this question on my blog and being surprised you had started so long ago! That is really progressive! I started mine in July of 2005, and was hand coding it until Oct 2007 when I moved to wordpress. Luckily, I didn’t have any angsty LJ pages. Man. It must have felt good to let all the issues out, even though it got you in trouble. Sometimes I REALLY wan to do that, now 🙂

    1. I’m one of those lame friends. Being 8.5mos pregnant, I’m lucky to get out if pajamas daily. 🙂
      But have no fear! Daddy owes me a backlog of mommy time. So I will be back in the game soon!

    2. Yeah, it’s moreso friends who used to like to go out and now are all “that’s so late, where are my pajamas?” But I’m a total nightowl. So’s Robert. On the weekends it’s normal for us to sleep from 2-10am, even if we don’t go out.

      I actually still occasionally post on my LiveJournal, but it’s “Friends Only” and only like, 3 people can see my posts. And I have a paper journal as well. I’ve been trying to write in my paper journal more.

      1. Ha ha ha ha. Well, being pregnant is a good excuse for that. 😉 I think Steven is a bit of a night owl, which is not always so bueno since I am an early morning person!

        That is great you are writing in a paper journal. But doesn’t your hand get tired? LOL, jk.

        1. Haha. Maybe my hand gets tired. It’s also funny when I re-read entries and find a mistake (not technically a typo if I’m not typing, right?) and I’m like “ahhhh … wait no one else will see this.” MISSPELL ALL THE WORDS.

  3. I love this post. I, like you, started creating websites on Angelfire/Geocities and had a uJournal and, later, a LiveJournal. Holy drama factory! Part of me wishes that uJournal never went away, then another part of me is very glad it did.

    You are probably one of the closest friends I’ve met through the internet. Yay internetz!

  4. Your story sounds so similar to mine! I still miss the livejournal years of internet-writing and the community I had there. Blogs are okay for what they are, but I really miss the kind of writing most people did on LJ and the kinds of connections that grew out of that kind of anonymous sharing.

    1. I miss it too. I think that’s why I have a few “lasting” friendships that started on LJ. We were so unfiltered, and so honest, it was so much easier to bond. Plus, we were all at such a transitional age (college), finding out place in the world. Now I feel like we’ve all created this filtered version of ourselves online. I try to be myself as much as possible, but there are certain things I don’t post about (personal stuff, political stuff, stuff that’s as much about my husband/family as it is about me, etc).

  5. Ah, I remember when blogging was anonymous 🙂 Or, at least, you could be more anonymous than you could be now. Doesn’t mean I didn’t do some stupid crap on Livejournal and get called out on it, though. And I’m pretty sure my husband was “Dooced” before that was even a thing.

    Anyway, yeah, I started my LJ in 2001 and that was my first foray into “blogging”. I’m still in touch with a few people from those days as well. I don’t write there anymore and even though I think a few of them still post I don’t read them. I just keep up with them on Facebook.

  6. I started my blog in early 2009 and I wanted it to be all about my adventures in Chicago, Then I realized I am not that exciting and adventuresome (and also way too poor to attempt to be), so I took a few months off to figure it out. Then I decided to start up a running blog and the same month that I started blogging about running, I injured myself. So then I was like “what the hell should I write about now?” and that’s how I mixed in the healthy living efforts, which happened to be about the same time that HLBs totally exploded. I was so cliche. Shame.

  7. I actually had a blog in College (that I read through recently… YIKES) but I was never consistent and probably only had roughly 25 posts total.

    But I started the current blog after Eric talked about meeting new people and the events you all have. I wasn’t sure how it would pan out and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep it up. But luckily it all worked out for the best!

    Thanks for starting this group of running bloggers!

  8. I totally remember making a Geocities site in high school and converting AP US History study materials into web pages. My high school actually had a web design class taught by one of the econ teachers. I impressed him enough to get put on the school website development team my senior year. I spent most that year fixing computer issues everyone had. Probably what got me into IT work. Ah the memories. I had a travel journal at one point but didn’t really start blogging until lurking on CRB for awhile and decided I wanted to meet other cool runners.

  9. So cool to hear the history of your blog and that you were one of the pioneers in the blog world! It is amazing how much blogging has evolved over the past decade. Especially how blogs have become a huge target for advertising and product placement, to the point where there are so many full-time bloggers out there. Who would have ever though?

    I started blogging because I wanted to document my marathon training journey. I was not expecting to meet so many great friends through it. I definitely have my good days and my bad days with blogging, but these days I consider the blog more of a way to keep in touch with everyone!

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