Writing prompt – Blogiversary

NaBloPoMo writing prompt from March 10, 2014:
How has blogging changed your life? Tell us one thing that is different now than from before you started blogging.

On May 19, 1999 I started my first blog. (This was also the release date of “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” Coincidence?) I can hardly believe it’s been fifteen years! To answer the question posed by this writing prompt – what’s NOT different now than it was back then? When I wrote my very first webpage post I was a twenty year old college student, attending summer classes at the University of Florida, with more free time than I knew what to do with. Even though my two classes were pretty intense, considering they each crammed a whole semester’s worth of information into just six weeks, I still had far fewer demands on my time without the rest of the college experience (my sorority, AIAA events, etc.) going on. University campuses are very quiet in the summer, and that was even more pronounced in an otherwise sleepy little town like Gainesville. There were things I liked about it (no crowds and plenty of parking), but I didn’t know what to do with myself in my time off. So I started writing. I’d kept a few paper diaries and journals when I was younger, but they were all short-lived and fairly satisfying. Scribbling away in a notebook that no one was ever going to read seemed like a futile pursuit to me. (But if I ever get ahold of those things again I’m sure I will bust a gut laughing.) Fortunately in the late 90’s the Internet came to my rescue! I’d been dabbling in simple webpage design since starting college, but when my best friend Käthe started an online diary to tell everyone about her exciting life, I had to follow suit (although my life wasn’t nearly as interesting). Publishing my ramblings on the web for anyone to read was exhilarating (although I could count my readers on one hand). I felt free to share my thoughts, uncensored, and let everyone know exactly how I felt about topics and situations I encountered. This is a familiar concept these days with the ever-present nature of Facebook and Twitter, but it was much less common back then. (Maybe I was ahead of my time? Why didn’t I invent a social network?) Fifteen years later, blogging is still my main form of self expression, and even thought I’ve taken breaks every now and then, I’ve really enjoyed it. I definitely won’t be stopping anytime soon.

“In the past I don’t think I have expressed my opinions as freely as I should have. Before now I have felt intimidated by opinionated people and rarely did I oppose them for that reason. Everyone should be able to say what they think, but in a way that does not degrade any particular person for their beliefs.”
5/19/99 diary entry