What Blogging Means to Me - Mike Harling

Blogging has always been about connecting.

I’d been a journaler for years, so the idea of putting my words on the web was the logical next step. Trouble was, there was no such thing as a blog back then.

The World Wide Web was a new concept. Not a lot of people had heard about it, fewer had access to it, and fewer still had the desire, determination, or the skill-set to put words on it. I had the desire and the determination; I acquired the skill-set along the way.

In those days, WebLogs were written in HTML and FTPed to websites. We surfed on Netscape, we searched on Lycos. And yet, we found each other. Our little beacons, shining in the void, inspired other, like-minded people. More WebLogs appeared. We linked them with WebRings, and the greater light drew more people, both WebLoggers and readers.

I had several, short-lived websites on the rapidly proliferating hosting services, such as GeoCities and Xoom, before finally staking my own claim at Lindenwald.com. There, I talked about my life, which at the time involved cigar culture and Irish step dancing. In 2002, when I moved to Britain, I rebranded the site as Postcards From Across the Pond. By tapping into the Ex-Pat circuit, my connections increased exponentially, and some of the people I connected with back then are with me still, both as virtual friends and real-life-go-down-to-the-pub-for-a-pint type friends.

As the web grew, so did the opportunity for connections. In thinking back, I am amazed at the diversity of people I have interacted with over the years. It’s humbling, and I consider it an honor to have been part of that barnstorming group. We were pioneers, we were a band of brothers (and sisters; frankly, it was mostly sisters). Together, we shared, and shaped, a moment in history. (No, I’m not crying; there’s something in my eye.)

Blogger saw the end of the HTML WebLog. Naturally, we resisted, but one by one we caved in. It was as inevitable as the automobile replacing the horse and cart. I held out until 2008, but the eventual transition from PCFATP the WebLog to PCFATP the blog went smoothly enough, and I quickly discovered the advantages. Blogging was easier, and it increased the potential for connection once more and, once more, I found friends and acquaintances in all corners of the world.

Not much has changed since then. The appearance of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Grinder, Grabber, HookUp, whatever, had little impact on blogging. Facebook had potential, before it descended into a cesspit of bile and click-bait, populated by trolls and the angry army of the self-righteous patrolling the borders of their shattered self-esteem. (But maybe that’s just me.)

For connecting with people on a meaningful level, in a well-thought out manner, in a safe and attractive environment, you can still do no better than a blog, which is why, after twenty years, I still do it.

(Read more of Mike's great work at his blog Postcards From Across The Pond.

Want to tell us what Blogging means to you? Contact us at info@takeitfromus.co.uk Or just leave a comment here.)