Ultraq's Final MooCow

Bits and pieces by Emanuel Rabina

A website through the ages

I was doing a Google search at work last week - looking-up "AGM", making sure that it meant Annual General Meaning, which it does, before I used it in a sentence in an e-mail - and in doing so I came across a blog entry from a local blogger where they described attending their apartment's AGM and how it felt like such a grown-up thing to do at the time. I say 'at the time' because it was written in 2004.

Browsing through to the blog's homepage, I saw that it is still actively updated. OMG! I thought, another blogger from NZ who writes about their day-to-day life, who started the site off years ago, AND IS STILL AROUND! OK, so 5 years isn't forever, but my own website only has entries dating all the way back to 2005, despite having had this site up since 2001, and that was before I even called these updates 'blog posts' or that the word 'blog' was common in the English language.

I was excited! Ecstatic! Glad to find someone out there who perseveres with a personal website for years, even with the knowledge that their readership consists mainly of friends and family, with the odd stranger/passer-by. I became even more excited/ecstatic/glad when, after reading through a few of their posts, I could identify them as somebody who might be a workmate of amazing baking girl. (2-degrees of separation FTW! (NZ joke))

OK, so my excitement probably makes no sense to anybody else. Here's some background for where I'm coming from with all this:

The day before I ran into OrangeBlog (yep, that's their blog's name), I was reading another blog entry from one of the authors I read and follow, John Scalzi, who had just written about how his website has been around for 11 years. That's one helluva milestone, I thought.

Not many personal sites on the internet stay around for 11 years. My own friends' attempts at websites or blogs are a testament to that: one guy hasn't added anything substantial to his site in several years, of 2 overseas/travelling blogs, 1 stopped theirs just a few months in while the other hasn't been updated in over a year, and the 1 guy who went so far as to buy a domain name and host his own Content Management System (think website management program), when he stopped updating it it got bombarded by comment spam bots, before getting domain jacked.

And when the New York Times has a slow news day and decides to take a pot shot at bloggers for lacking discipline and staying power, I find myself alone in the fight back, using whatever skills I have on hand (writing, 'your mom' jokes) and whatever weapons I can find on my desk (unsharpened pencils and dead batteries... wait, that can't be turned into some sort of analogy for my life can it?).

I guess it takes certain kinds to continue something that has no real rewards, no tangible benefits; to throw thoughts, words, ideas, out into the digital ether and not worry about them coming back any better than they were when they left the gap between your brain and the keyboard. I haven't received so much as a cookie for what I'm doing with this website, but it's not an entirely selfless thing; every time I hear somebody I know say "Hey, I read your blog" or allude to something I've written, it becomes a real boost to the ego.

So yeah, I knew I wasn't alone in the whole 'maintain and keep updating a personal website' endeavour - the world's way too big for that - but I feel a lot less alone than I did before.

A shot of orange girl's desk
It's not called OrangeBlog for nothing

And hopeful too that there are more like me out there when it comes to keeping to things for the long term. Hope, for now it seems, is the colour orange.