ODonnellWeb is old enough to drink! And after the shit show of a year that was 2016, it’s going to need to drink heavily as it kicks 2016 in the ass on its way out. No wait, that might be me I’m talking about there. (Actually we are going to see La La Land tonight, so I probably won’t even be drinking.)
In the blogging heyday of 2005 I was getting 50,000 visitors a month. I got 40,000 visitors in 2016. If you had told me on 12/31/1995 that 20,000 people would visit my site in a year I would have thought you were on drugs. Granted, the web stats indicate the vast majority of those visitors were lost and clicked away almost as quickly as they got here. But still, I built the original site just as an exercise in learning HTML, on a New Year's Eve when I was home and bored because my very pregnant wife had gone to bed early. Little did I know that night of learning HTML (and back then you pretty much could learn it all in a couple of hours) was going to change my career completely, and lead to a job in web design three months later. My only regret is that I should have doubled down on the technical side and become a real developer, instead of a sales guy that knows enough about development to be dangerous.
The Internet has fundamentally changed since back then too. It was decentralized back then. If you wanted to see what somebody wrote you went to their site, or later on used a feed reader. However, you were 100% in control. If you didn’t want to see the crazy ramblings of your Uncle Ted you could simply not go to his Geocities page. There was no central content aggregator like Twitter or Facebook to push content at you. It was primarily a pull model. It was better that way.
It was a much more innocent Internet too. The promise of everybody having their own printing press had not been corrupted by advertising and/or the Russian mafia or government. (Is there a difference?) Sure there were plenty of conspiracy theorists that thought Bill Clinton was using the CIA to funnel cocaine through Arkansas, but without the central hub like Facebook and Twitter the audiences for those sites was limited to the same crazy nuts that already formed the community. They didn’t have a way to grow at scale, and politicians and the Russian mafia (is there a difference?) didn’t have a way to take advantage of their ignorance at scale.
And I didn’t have to deal with them. Ever.
Will ODonnellWeb still be online as I’m waiting for the ball drop 21 years from now? Hell, I can’t even begin to think about anything that far advance. I’ll be pretty psyched if we get through the next 4 years without a nuclear holocaust. If there is any good at all that comes from a cancer diagnosis in the immediate family it’s that it does cause you reassess what is important. Experiences experienced with the people you love are important. Stuff isn’t. So next year I plan to experience more while reducing the amount of stuff in my life. Assuming the datacenter where this site lives isn’t melted in a nuclear blast I suspect I’ll continue to document those experiences here. If nothing else it helps clarify my memories, which at my age, is helpful.
Here’s hoping 2017 somehow surprises us, and isn’t an even bigger shit show than 2016.