I know 300 posts isn’t really a significant milestone in the blogging world, but it’s taken me, a casual and unpaid blogger who posts a few times a week at most, a long time to get here. Given that, I feel somewhat justified in taking a moment to reflect on where this blog has been and, maybe, on where it’s going to go. Besides that, it’s the holidays, the perfect time for a little reflection — something I don’t do quite enough of.
I started this blog some time around the year 2001 or 2002 as a Web page for an English class I was taking at the time. The professor offered extra credit if you did your course journal online, and for a semi-techie person like me, whipping up a little HTML magic was fun and no problem at all. For years, the blog was known as Becker’s Online Journal, and it dealt with literary theory and other issues related to what I was reading at the time. In fact, that is the one common thread that has bound all my blog posts throughout the years: They have been about what I was reading at the time.
After a while, my Web host (a friend of a friend with a server box) started having problems, so I looked for a hosting solution. That solution was Blogger, which was a relatively new service at the time and was not yet owned by Google, by the way. In fact, Blogger had just done away with its premium paid services, which was just fine for a college undergrad looking for a free Web host to use while his buddy raised the cash to buy a new motherboard for his server.
I didn’t trust Blogger or any other “blogging” engine at the time. I wanted to control my own Web site. I hated the idea of any sort of branding or theme that I didn’t design, and I was blissfully ignorant of things like CSS and PHP. I learned, gradually, that using a CMS like Blogger (and later, famously, WordPress) was a far better solution than to keep adding new dispatches onto the top of a static Web page that I had to edit in Macromedia Dreamweaver or in Notepad.
Years went by, and eventually I ported all my posts to a self-hosted WordPress installation. Things did not go well, and I lost a heck of a lot of posts. That’s why you see that my archives in the sidebar only go back to 2005, and the posts you find from back then are few and far between. That’s because the only backup I had for any of my posts were the copies Blogger had e-mailed to me. I had to pick and choose some of my favorites because I wasn’t going to manually repost the dozens and dozens of posts that existed only as e-mails.
Eventually, the blog shed the name of Becker’s Online Journal and took on the persona of Hypercrit. This happened during grad school, when it became clear that my master’s thesis in English was going to involve literary theory with computers, social networking and the Web 2.0.
Since then, the blog has taken on a decidedly more esoteric existence, acting as a repository for all my miscellaneous thoughts and ideas. I’ve abused it by adding all sorts of widgets, CSS experiments and other design endeavors that haven’t worked out. I’ve ignored the blog for extended periods, tried to remotely control its content and even (unsuccessfully) recruit other people to come write here.
Throughout it all, the blog has endured relatively well, and it will continue to do so far into the future, especially since my Web hosting is cheap and unlimited in scope and especially since I often find myself with things to say and no one in my immediate vicinity to say them to.
Direction for the future? None. I know blogs, at least the blogs that make money, should have a focus, a niche to fill in the online world. Well, I’m not interested in making money. This is a hobby, pure and simple. Maybe if people start noticing the things I’m saying here (or if I start saying things worth noticing), I’ll look into monetizing Hypercrit. For now, though, it will continue to float on the whims of my attention span.
Thanks for reading. Please continue to do so. I welcome you to the post-post-300 era of Hypercrit.