This is, ultimately, a story about failure. There is no nice way to say it and there is no reason to sugar-coat it. However, with every failure comes a lesson, so hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.
I was one of the first people in Croatia to create a blog on our first blogging site. It was a new thing, back then in 2004, and a rather small group of early adopters were people that already knew each other online. I was somewhat new to the online community and, at that point, hardly anyone used their real names online. We didn’t have Facebook and Twitter and our aliases were there to separate what we did online with who we actually were.
With my anonymity there to protect me, I felt I could be whatever I wanted online. I could be who I really was. I could say or write whatever I wanted. So, I did just that. I wrote about my life, my university, my relationship and the problems it had. I used that blog as if it were a therapist. After all, nobody knew me there, so why not?
Well, that didn’t last long. I slowly started to get to know my online acquaintances in real life and there were more and more people who had my name and my phone number. Simultaneously, my blog got featured on the home page and attracted more attention. One would think it would be a positive thing, and I thought so too, but I soon discovered it was not.
I was no longer free to use my blog the same way. The therapy days were over as I found myself censoring the content I would put more and more. As my blog got public, I realized I didn’t want my private stuff on it. Not when it comes to the things that really matter. So my posts became less frequent and slowly, dumber and dumber.
I had no intention to keep a blog where I would write posts like “OMG THIS SONG IS THE BEST!!!!111One” or “I ate fish today. Was good.“* I stopped writing.
* I have Twitter for posts like that now. 😉
My second blog started while I still had my first blog, but at that point I was already hardly using it. I registered on another Croatian blogging site just to get the domain name and a new playground. I love exploring things, and I wanted to see how that service worked, what features it had and if I would like it or not. Honestly, I had no intention of blogging there.
Alas, my registration got announced on the home page. It was announced as if I had “transferred over” from the competitor to use this blogging site. After that little sensationalist piece of faux news, people started coming to check my blog. I felt like I had an audience that I was letting down, so I tried not to do that.
I started using that second blog. I wrote (I’d like to think so anyways) several slightly more “grown-up” posts and the whole blog was meant to be a bit more adult and mature than the first one.
Soon I got tired of it. I got tired of trying to be cool, trying to be popular, because someone else thought I would be. I stopped writing again.
Years passed. I changed my life a lot in the mean time, I changed my university, I changed my boyfriend and I had new exciting things happening to me. I got more geeky in the meantime and by now I have had several domain names and a hosting service for years. So, understandably, my third blog was self hosted.
I was spending 5 months abroad in an exchange student program. I thought it would be interesting to write about that and have a sort of tutorial for those that would like to do it. I created my website for that purpose and blogged there. I wrote about how I got into the program, what requirements were necessary for a student visa, how I found an apartment in Spain without speaking a word of Spanish, etc. I was not planning on writing much about my friends and my life in Spain, but my travels: the cities I visited and the places/restaurants/bars/clubs I would recommend.
My 5 months were soon over and I did not manage to keep my blog updated with real life. I was way too busy for that. I found myself back home with posts to write about Barcelona, Salamanca and Granada. I found myself home with a website titled “Hrvatica u Madridu” (Croatian girl in Madrid) — but I was no longer there. How could I have a website called that, and actually be in Croatia? I could not. And that was the end of it.
I plan to redo my website at some point. After my failures, what have I learned? Here’s my list:
- The internet is not my shrink. For some people this might work and some might be okay with that, but I am not. I know how much I am comfortable to share now.
- I am not a very cool and popular person. And that’s ok. I can’t be popular and cool because someone else thinks I should be. Or just because I’d like that.
- Creating a very specific (time-wise and location-wise in my case) website is not a long term solution.
The next time I choose to create a blog, I will keep it smart and honest. And if it turns out to be a mess? Fine, that’s my life.