My love affair with WordPress

It’s hard to believe that I started my first WordPress blog 10 years ago in 2003. With the help a wonderful geeky friend, I got set up with the platform and dug into learning HTML basics and customizing new headers on a regular basis. Before the invent of Facebook and the 140 character Twitter-verse, there was this magical land of incredible (and surprisingly, mostly civil) discourse. Before every major news outlet and corporation had a blogger on the payroll, before side bars were filled with advertisements, even before Dooce got “Dooced” – there was a community of geeks that spent hours checking in on friends around the world that they’d never met.

There was once this ranking “Eco-system” by a now defunct site, Truth Laid Bear, that tracked the most linked to blogs. I’ve had a hard time finding the entire list but much like a real eco-system, it started out at a Insignificant Microbes level, then evolved to Microorganisms, Slimy Mollusks, Flippery Fish, Crawling Amphibians, Slithering Reptiles, Flappy Birds, Adorable Rodents, Marauding Marsupials, Large Mammals, Playful Primates, Mortal Humans and finally Higher Beings (“A List” Blogs like Daily Kos, Instapundit & Andrew Sullivan). My partner and I eventually typed and slithered our way out of the digital swamps to become Marsupials. Hello, big leagues! That was the point that you went into the code and manually added your status to your sidebar if you hadn’t already. My girlfriend, also an early adopter of WordPress, was hardly comprehensible one day after getting linked by Michelle Malkin. Her post was in response to Mexican President Vicente Fox’s administration issuing a stamp depicting an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin. (Although our politics usually don’t align with a far right wing blogger, I think most decent people can agree that racism is reprehensible, even in the disguise of a “cultural icon”.)

I met some incredibly wonderful, life-long friends during that time period that we’ve since met and kept in contact with. We were even there as witnesses when one of our first blogger friends got married. There are many more than I will occasionally think of and wonder where they might be these days. A couple of years ago, we had the terrifying experience of an internet stalker. I won’t go into the gory, homophobic details but it made us both step away from blogging for a while and close down the hatches on our online lives. I’m finally ready to bury that in the past and move on. I’ve been scouring the archives of my former blog, pulling out a few posts that I want to keep before they disappear into the digital ether. (Any posts that show up prior to the “Welcome” have been pulled from these previous archives.) It’s been a bit like time traveling which has been alternating from fun memories to tears to gut wrenching laughter. After going through my old blogroll, I realized that there are just a few bloggers left from those days. I’m guessing most of them will always think of me as “Bayou”, my original pen name.