Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Mar 05

I Have Strong Feelings About Blogging

Actually, they’re very strong feelings. And they’re somewhat elitist. I can sum them up like this. You shouldn’t own a blog if..
Now go blog about this

  • You cannot install your own blog (and it only takes 5 minutes!)
  • You cannot upgrade your blog
  • You don’t know how to edit HTML or CSS
  • You cannot work with PHP
  • You don’t understand what a MySQL database is

Maybe I’m showing how dated I am here, but I come from a time when you couldn’t have a blog if you didn’t do it yourself. There weren’t people who would help you — for free or otherwise — and there were far fewer plugins. When you wanted to do something, you had to learn how to do it.

And it was amazing. 

Honestly. I learned all the skills I have more. I made friends. I certainly cemented myself as a geek. I love that I have these skills in my repertoire.

It just shocks me that people can run blogs — successful blogs at that! — and not have any of these skills. When their site goes down, when a plugin messes something up, when they want to change something, they need to ask for help. More often than not, they pay for it. This is simply inconceivable to me. You’re wasting your money with something that you can — and should — do yourself!

And I realize that it makes me look like an asshole. I get it. I do. It’s like saying that you shouldn’t own a car if you can’t build an engine. Or that you shouldn’t own a computer that you can’t maintain? But people do. It is the new normal. (Perhaps people used to think this when cars and computers were new?) And who am I to say that these people shouldn’t spend money if they have it to spend? Some people have to option to be less frugal, and I am envious!

However, I am not alone. The Shareaholic blog provides some basics about HTML usage along with this quote:

No matter how many pageviews you have, having an understanding of HTML is key to having a successful blog.

A commenter there also made a great point: you need to know HTML if you want to optimize your website for search engines, too. This is because you need to use keywords in your image names, anchor text, titles and headings, just to name a few locations. You won’t be able to do this if you don’t have at least a basic understanding of HTML.

But I firmly believe that bloggers need to know more than just HTML. This enables you to retain complete control of your website — and of your wallet. Perhaps the problem is that the people who do understand this don’t realize how well we understand it. Maybe the tutorials we write about CSS  or using the WordPress database are too confusing. But everything is confusing at first, and maybe you need a different source when it comes to learning.

Nevertheless, the world is changing. People are driving their cars without any knowledge of how to fix them. In fact, people who fix their own often do so out of necessity rather than because society expects it, and no one loses pride over it. For me, it’s still a matter of pride to do things with my own hands, er, fingers.

 


Oct 26

The Internet Has Stalled

I remembered 5-10 years ago when I was apart of countless forums where web design was all the rage. To me, to everyone, it seemed like the future was limitless and that we could do anything we wanted. Back then, being able to successfully call an image or make a link was cause for excitement. And I was hooked. So I took a bite of the possibilities and hopped on the blog train before they weren’t considered anything different than journals. I had affiliates, I made fanlistings and cliques and joined webrings and, for the most part, still maintain much of that. I made my own forums on Delphi. I dived in head first.

Then I took some time to weed out what it was I really wanted to do. I stepped away from cartoon dolls and trying to have my own forums. I slowly weened the list of projects to the ones I cared about the most and, of course, this site was always at the top of that list. I spent hours working on content which was all the rage. I looked up HTML help and tricks and CSS guides and Javascripts and shortcuts and includes and colour charts. I commented and linked and associated with very similar people with very similar sites. At that time, Web2.0 was far in the distance, everything was graphic intensive (and, usually, beautiful) and everyone and their dog had a site. We were all still learning and making mistakes together.

Then, something happened. Maybe people grew up. Maybe we just got to a point where we could comfortably do what we wanted without learning much more or anything more. I know I’ve been there for a while. I could make new themes, add new content and continue doing things the way I’ve been doing them without learning anything new. It feels kind of stagnant. Back then, I learned basic HTML, I learned tables, then frames, then divs then increased my understanding of CSS and it seemed like progression was obvious and logical but now I don’t know where I’d go even if I wanted to. I suppose PHP is the future and I’d gleaned some information here and there, especially using WordPress, but it doesn’t thrill me the way learning something new used to.

There’s not really anyone else whose thrilled either. I definitely think we all fed off the excitement of the group and it encouraged us to do more, go bigger. It’s harder to keep up the frenzy when you’re alone in it. But there’s this general trend of folks getting on with their lives and the internet just doesn’t play as big a part of that anymore. There’s school and work and families and stuff I have somehow managed to avoid and now I’m a remnant of something that will probably never come back and I miss it.

Of course, there’s people left who are still trudging on but now that the internet has made the transition to 2.0, I find myself alienated by the new trends. There is no inspiration for me anywhere; I do not want to do what people are doing and, even if I did, what they’re doing doesn’t feel remarkable the way everything used to feel. I guess I’m just not a big fan of function over form.

Man, I write all these posts where I am nostalgic for the past, especially when it comes to the internet. I’m not that old; how does that even work?


Mar 12

..and then there was cole

Okay, forgive me all. I’ve spent about the past hour fine tuning a template that i’m not even sure I like, however I understand blogger now. It’s not nearly as bad as I’d thought it would be. For this, I suppose i’m grateful. -sl* Sleep calls, I’ll finish the tweaking tomorrow.

And I really to find a font that I like. -ggls*


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