Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Revisiting old haunts

With some free time for myself this Christmas season, I revisited blogs I used to subscribe to. These websites flourished in the days when the internet was kinder. Most of them are now dead or dying.

I was in college when I started blogging. The year was 2004. The place was an internet café past the parking lot of the UP Diliman Shopping Center. I did not own a personal computer. At 16 years old, I had many ideas. I wanted to tell the world about them. I was an English major, fresh out of high school from a quiet town most people in the big city never heard of. Realizing I could never start a newspaper column for national syndication, owning a small patch of land in the Web thrilled me. The design and coding, the posting, the linking to other websites fascinated me that I did them all for free. The process was the reward.

That seems like ages ago. This blog is now 17 years old—older than my inaanaks. I am now a doctor, more mature in my faith and thinking, more circumspect in my posts. I write this from my own laptop, connected to my own internet connection. I don't remember that last time I’d been to internet cafés. I suppose they, too, are things of the past.

Two days ago, I sent a link to my Christmas post to a colleague from the faculty. She asked me what Bottled Brain was. I said, “It’s my personal website. Nobody knows about it, except for close family and friends.” That remains true. I do not completely know what my personal blog is about. A workable definition is that it is an online journal where I write about my daily life, my meditations on God and Christianity, my books, my patient encounters, my fountain pens and inks, and many other things besides.

In 2021 I did not feel like writing at all, but force of habit kept me going. I pray I do better in 2022.

Jason Kottke wrote that the decline of the Blog should not be a cause for lament. But I grieve for the disappearance of my old haunts, in the same way I am saddened by the closure of a favorite restaurant or the burning down of an old building. Nevertheless, the old has gone—but not completely. And if you, dear Friend, have been dropping by my small patch of land in the vast, chaotic, noisy Web for the past years, I suppose you realize that, too. Blogging is not dead and will likely live on quietly, to give us joy and company for the years to come.

1 comment:

  1. Lance, you were an ENGLISH major?!? What happened?!! lol.
    I wonder how many of the old blogs you used to follow still remain active.
    I wish I had been reading you when you started. I remember when people were more open in their blogs and I miss those days.
    I'm glad force of habit worked on you last year. I'd have been sad to have stopped reading your posts if you'd quit.
    -aS

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