20 years of blogging

My first blog post appeared on February 21, 2001, so today is my 20th anniversary.
I launched on Digital Media Tree (still alive and kicking), a platform created and maintained by Jim Bassett, and continued near-daily blogging there until 2007. I created tommoody.us in 2004 as a side project and made it my permanent home in July 2007.
In the early '00s many writers started blogs and used them as platforms to get noticed by major media. My trajectory was the opposite: I had "done" institutional writing for many years and wanted something more freewheeling.
The blog took my life in many unexpected directions and I'm still bullish on the form, even though the career-minded fled long ago for "social." Silicon Valley's reconstitution of the blog template into enormous silos of content struck me from the beginning as another form of institutional straitjacket.
So here I still am.
From 2001-2007 I had comments enabled and the resulting conversations helped build a readership. Many never forgave me for closing comments in '07. In 2001 there was no comment spam and anyone could chime in; after a certain search engine "monetized" content, giving spammers an incentive, I would have had to add a moderation plugin such as Akismet and I opted not to do that, not wishing to deal with the daily drip of "why didn't my comment appear?" questions. I was also frankly tired of people getting up in my face -- I had spent years writing for magazines without the joys of immediate feedback (except from editors) so I just went back to that as my default position. I learned that if readers are annoyed with my content here they usually find a way to get that message to me. (It's still happening.)
Another large change was dialing back political content. In the '00s I suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome and sounded off every time Dick Cheney did something horrible.
Post-Snowden that kind of editorializing felt more problematic. I didn't stop having politics but began looking for ways to implement them that didn't result in a Stasi-like dossier of personal foibles. Fortunately most of the Bush ranting just seems quaint now.