Remember when a computer program was run by sticking a(n actually) floppy disk in Drive 1 and files were saved on a floppy stuck into Drive 2? The first time you were on the Internet? First time you peeked into a chatroom?
Some of you do, and some of you don’t. I do.
The Internet boomed after I started college. For one intense week freshman year I was addicted to an ICQ Internet chatroom. The idea that people were out there, ‘talking’ with me, in real-time blew my mind. I would watch conversations fly by, got to recognizing the ‘voices’ of some of the regulars and then began chiming in.
I was in awe of the technology, and this was still when modem connections were so slow that the “In-ter-net” didn’t reliably load up. It was like peeking in a curtained window, sometimes the breeze blew and you had a glimpse for a maddening second and then it fell shut again.
That was what made the chatroom so cool, it just ran text across the screen and my imagination filled in the rest. I felt like I knew these people a little. Even then the (now primitive) technology was changing how we communicate. The first seeds of literal exhibitionism were born.
I, for one, loved it.
Blogs I discovered first by accident while surfing the net. I’d heard the term but never bothered to look it up and see what it actually meant. I didn’t really like how it sounded, wasn’t interested and so ignored it. Until I fell over it.
After moving to Germany I’d started emailing little stories and rants about life as a fish out of water, always feeling a little guilt that I was forcing myself into others peoples’ inboxes talking only about myself. But everything was so new, so crazy, I made so many mistakes and found so much wonder in everyday life that I simply had to get it out. I’d scribble reminders of moments on pieces of paper and refuse to toss them until I’d reported it and clicked ‘send’.
But always with this feeling… Was I spam?
Then I found blogs, to be precise A blog. The first I ever really read was this one, called Tenth-Muse (at the time). Her design and writing style was so fun and engaging, I was hooked.
I thought to myself: This was what I was already doing, but much better. It wasn’t spam. I could put my stuff up and people could read it or not. It felt less selfish.
It still took me another year to get around to setting up an address. For the design and look I went to BlogMoxie, owned and run by the first blogger I ever read. I was finally online.
But then what? I’d been here two years. Life was still funny and crazy but I was speaking German (albeit badly), finding my way around, I got a ‘real’ job at the same time, life was becoming… well… normal. So what was there to talk about? What am I supposed to talk about? Does it matter if no one’s reading it?
I’m still not sure.
Work gets in the way. I used to spend my days in German class and wandering the streets. Oliver was still a student and we had more time (but less money) to go out, get in trouble and generate good material to share. Now we spend our days at work and, although hilarious stuff happens all the time, anyone with a clue today knows not to write about work on the Internet.
I took six months to write my “about me” page because I couldn’t decide what this was about. I felt that if I set the scene then this would be one story, and stories come with beginnings and endings. I didn’t want to have to write a ‘beginning’ post and I didn’t want to feel like it had to end. This wasn’t ever supposed to be episodic, or just about a single chapter of my life. But strangely I find myself editing entries so that they ‘fit’.
The intention was always to change the title of the website when the focus shifted. Say if I moved… well then I wouldn’t be ‘here’ anymore would I? And if I moved to the US I wouldn’t still be foreign either, right? The address became SkunkStripe so it wouldn’t have to change, even if my life did.
Over the course of the last year, blogging has exploded, almost blowing itself out in the process. Everyone has one, you start to wonder if there are enough people out there to read them. “Read my blog” has already started to sound lame, and I never even got around to saying it. I love how many expats have websites and share their daily lives. When I see a good one go, I wonder if I’ll give up before I even get going.
Which brings me back to the question of what am I really doing? Maybe that’s just the question I’m working on here.