I’m a website junky. I launched my first site, MayaPayne.com, in 2002 using a primitive website builder that produced a hideous site with nearly illegible type set against a stock photograph of a sunset. I was thrilled.
Buying that little piece of cyberspace was addictive. Over the next ten years I would go on to develop a dozen websites and buy twice as many domain names. At one point, I co-founded a short-lived local site that trafficked in celebrity gossip and party pics.
But despite my enthusiasm for the web’s publishing power, I was very slow to grasp its community-building potential. It’s hilarious now to recall some of the conversations we had at work. We hotly and repeatedly debated the question, “If we link to other sites, why would anyone come to ours?”
We were content curators and news aggregators, but didn’t know it. We were bloggers without the software and the sharing.
By the time I arrived in a master’s program in journalism, it seemed like everyone was obsessed with building an online profile and cultivating a digital voice. One classmate wrote snappy zingers about local treasures for Daily Candy Chicago. Another shared true-life dispatches not fit for print on her personal site.
I soldiered on oblivious. Like that other emergent social medium, Facebook, I just didn’t get it. My sites were still all business. I wanted to use the web to get work in print–and for years I did.
I only became an avid blog reader a couple of years ago when I stumbled upon the smart, vibrant, authentic reports of a range of dynamic, entrepreneurial women. I love the mix of the personal and the profound, the opinion and the insight. I turn to Curly Nikki when I want to play kitchen beautician and to Fly when I need a creative boost. I appreciate that A Belle in Brooklyn and Cup of Jo hold it down in New York. And that Oh Joy!, Emily Henderson and Design Love Fest consistently deliver West Coast flavor.
Once hooked on reading blogs, publishing one just seemed natural. I’m excited to have this venue to write what I want when I can. Now it’s your turn. I highly recommend it.
Do you blog? If so, tell me why and post your link in the comments so I can check you out.