Blog archeology 1: blogging epochs

I sometimes think of myself as a blog archeologist. As I’ve mentioned before I got into blogging fairly early. 2003 wasn’t the birth of blogging but it was early days. Since then I’ve been far more of a blog reader than a writer. Anybody who follows any of my blogs can attest to that.
Back in the olden days I followed a blog. The person eventually moved overseas and I lost touch and stopped reading their blog. About two years ago I rediscovered them on the internet. They had been blogging the entire time. They had changed platforms a couple of times but all the posts in all three blogging platforms still existed. When I realized they had a different spouse I knew I had missed plenty. So I went back and read from where I had left them to the present. I read about moves and unemployment, children being born, sickness, a divorce and a remarriage.
This caused my rekindled love for the personal blog. Not only did I start following a lot of blogs again, but I have been reading them from their beginning. I’ve only done this with a handful of blogs at this point but it has been fun and enlightening.

1. The ancient past (1999-2003)

Not much remains of this ancient period.  Many of the blogs no longer exist and many of the blogging platforms have disappeared.  But I have found a few blogs started in this period that are still running or up.  Blogging was a much simpler affair back then.  Rarely were pictures involved and most posts where simple descriptions of the authors day. “I went for a run this morning.  Later I met Bob for lunch.”  Posts where generally short much like facebook status updates.  You often find people during this period complaining about using dial-up or having to find internet cafes.  Note: 1999 was the year blogger was first made public.

2. The age of growth and innocence lost (2003 – 2007)

During this period personal blogging really took off.  Several solid platforms existed.  Wordpress was released in 2003.  Home internet starting becoming more common. Posts became longer though still several times a week.  Blogging meant not only writing your own blog but also, reading and commenting on blogs. A slew of communities began to be created. People of like interests would share links, comment, and support each other.

This period also saw the rise of the popular personal blogger.  People who would begin getting thousands of readers of their blogs.  This helped spur the end of the innocence in blogging in two ways. First, people became aware that blogs were not anonymous(even if they tried to be) and were public. One of the most famous cases of this was the story of petite anglais.  Her employer discovered her blog and fired her over contents. Several blogs completely disappear at this point. Their authors just seemed to not even take the chance of of being found out.  Heck at the time I would put up personal medical details without even a thought. Secondly, now that people had many readers, the possibility of profit entered the picture.  Bloggers started inking book deals, adding ads, and trying other ways to monetize their efforts.

3. Growth and Decline(2007 – 2010)

This new found money led to an influx of people looking to get on the train. People started creating blogs looking to capture certain SEO rich topics. Some bloggers just kept on trucking with what they had been writing before while many tried to tailor their writing style and topics to acquire as many readers as possible. Some where successful, many were not.

During the middle of this period we see the big rise of facebook and twitter into mainstream popularity.  We begin to see a corresponding decrease in blogland. You see a log of blogs dwindle to nothing.  They authors post less and less and then just stop. Sometime there is a final message but often the blog just waits there in hopes someday of being reborn. I think many of these people just went to facebook and twitter for quick life updates.  Why bother with the hassle of a blog post when you can just quickly fling something out on your smartphone.

4. Rebirth in the time of Facebook(2010 –)

Blogging has experienced a comeback in the last few years. Many people are creating blogs as a way to write long form to complement their other online activity. For many, their blog is the centerpiece of their social media presence.  On their blog they have widgets that connect you to their twitter stream, or pinterest activity. 

I will not vouch for the accuracy of anything I’ve said here.  I am not a social scientist studying blog culture, I am just some dude who reads blogs.

Monaco 2008

Outside my window it’s overcast, cold, and drizzly. On my TV, it’s sunny, warm, and full of celebrities. The Monaco Formula1  the cat has decided to sit on my lap and cover up the keyboard and my hands. maybe if I keep typing he will get up… nope.  I will wait.) race runs today.  As the cars zip around the tight corners of the road course, I keep seeing places I remember. So I thought I would post a short account of my trip to Monaco in 2008.  I don’t remember everything and won’t even bother trying to put things in the right order.  I have come to the realization that I am a bad photographer   I don’t know what I should take a picture of and when I do they are usually bad.

For general info about Monaco see its wikipedia page.

How could I afford eight days in one of the most expensive spots in the world?  I couldn’t really.  I didn’t pay for the trip.  Airfare, the hotel, tours, and even most of the meals were paid for.  My friend got the trip for winning an award at work and had a plus one.  So I went with her.

Cloudy day on the Cote d’Azur
The riviera greeted us overcast and a bit dreary.  The water looked a murky gray to match the clouds above.  Where was the beautiful blue green we had been promised? Clouds and sometimes rain dominated the weather for half the days we were there.  It didn’t really bother me I kind of liked the change. Finally when the sun did break through I understood what everybody talked about.  The waters of the Mediterranean became a multitudes of deep blue and green colors and the hills above the city shown in the light.  I understood why so many people paint this area. The light seems filled with magic.

Proof you are in Monaco

One day in which we are mostly free, we wandered around Monaco.  We walked the race course.  Not all of it, and not always in order, and sometimes backward, but I got some pictures of the various places I have been seeing on my tv for years of watching the Monaco Grand Prix.

The tunnel under the Fairmont Hotel

There are a couple statues celebrating the principalities history in racing.

We stayed at he Fairmont Hotel, home of the famous hotel corner.

Another time we wandered up an ancient wide stone stairway to the Rock.  The original and oldest part of Monaco. It’s home to the Palace, and a bunch of old beautiful buildings. Up here we found and spent a good amount of time in the famous Monaco oceanographic museum.  The small  country is well known for it’s concern for the environmental health of the worlds oceans. From up here we also got good view of Monte Carlo. Personally, I find the clash of all the apartment towers rather unattractive.

Monte Carlo proper

The day that stands out most in my mind is the tour of nice. We got to see the market and wander through the narrow streets of the old town. The colors are what impressed me the most.

Another tour took us to the small ancient mountain town of Eze.

Ez in the Fog

There are many other wonderful snippets of memory.  Catching a gap in the scenery while on the tour bus were if you looked one way you saw deep into the med and if you looked the other way you could see all the way to snow covered alps.  Wandering through a market in Sanremo listening to the crash of many different voices and languages.

We ended the trip by grabbing an overnight train and heading to Rome for two days.