10 years blogging

Thoughts on blogging and why I'm still doing it

On August 2nd, 2005, I made my first real foray into making a home on the web by registering paulstamatiou.com.

I was a sophomore at Georgia Tech and had spent the summer tinkering around with Linux as a result of spending my freshman year in a dorm with other Linux users. I previously ran two other websites; most recently a wiki devoted to computer modding. I grew a curiousity around CMS software and decided to play with WordPress next.

I installed WordPress on my G4 Mac Mini and began to modify WordPress, make themes and learn the ins and outs of CSS. Then I hooked it up to this domain — still hosted on the Mac Mini in my dorm.

One of my first articles was a guide to help friends setup things like BitTorrent and Tor; those articles eventually getting picked up by sites like Digg many times. I was hooked; enamored that people would actually read my stuff. I continued writing technical guides as well as some product reviews and news posts.

Ten years later I've still kept writing, designing, developing and maintaining this site.

I've published around 700,000 words over 1,198 articles, not including the 95 photosets I began posting in 2011.

However, my writing has changed. I used to write as often as several times per day, largely covering tech news along with the occasional product review or guide. I began writing less frequently after I graduated college and began working on my startups. I stopped writing about tech news. I didn't want to be another person saying the same thing that day. I preferred being the news with some in-depth article.

As such, I no longer care too much about sticking to a particular publishing cadence. I will only write if I can say something interesting and dive deep on a topic. I now only post a few times a year but they tend to be huge articles or mammoth travel photosets.

I have since redesigned and rebuilt the site countless times — along the way briefly becoming the #1 "Paul" on Google — eventually migrating from WordPress to Jekyll in late 2010. I'm trying to simplify and futureproof my site. It's now just flat html files that I will be able to migrate and host anywhere in the future.

Why I do it

For me blogging here is an outlet for creativity and an eternal personal project where I can tinker with design ideas and various web technologies (like using Route 53 and hosting on CloudFront). Of course, it's also megaphone with which to share my ridiculously verbose thoughts with the world. Writing articles and publishing photosets also finds a way to connect me with other like-minded folks online.

This website has opened countless doors for me. It helped land my internship at Yahoo! in 2006, put me in a Nike+ ad and be part of the ridiculously fun Ford Fiesta Movement experiment where they gave 100 bloggers an unreleased car.

But it's not all kittens and daisies

I used to follow hundreds of fellow bloggers and get greeted by a packed RSS reader every morning. But that's no more; they've all stopped blogging. The only blogs that remain are large, commercial multi-author websites — the BuzzFeed, HuffPo and their ilk — which we don't call blogs anymore.

The era of the personal website is over. It's now just a personal landing page with a photo, bio and link to a Twitter profile.

It's so ridiculously easy to make a website now. There are countless CMS systems, static site generators and hosted publishing solutions... and no one really cares.

I've thought countless times about entirely removing comments from this site and simply replacing it with some functionality to more easily quote and take the conversation to Twitter. I no longer receive more than a few Disqus comments on articles. The questions, conversation and discussion is now happening on Twitter. The future of online commenting will probably be some incarnation of bridgy that summarizes this activity back on the website.. I used to use BackType to do this back in the day.

Don't worry about me though. I'll be here pumping out one ridiculously-long article or photoset at a time, keeping my little corner of the Internet tidy and well-stocked.

Thank you for reading.

Here are some of my favorite posts from the last ten years:

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"10 years blogging" by @Stammy