Over the years I’ve wondered how long it takes to build a following, almost entirely related to the Internet. Early on, it was just getting anyone to read what I wrote, then getting any kind of comment or reply. One of the better experiences I had was on xanga, even if I got there through a bizarre marketing ploy[1]. This was back in 2001, before social media was really a thing. Looking back, I don’t know why I actually checked it out, but still…

I had people who I talked to regularly, and even got to know some of the more popular people on there beyond just being a subscriber. The appeal is getting that hit when someone likes something you wrote, and then to get a comment? Whoa, that was great. If the person asked a question or otherwise invited discussion, I’d ride that high.

Yes, it wasn’t necessarily “real” but I was able to talk to and find more people like me than anything physically local. Even some of the people who weren’t like me were part of great discussions, both on and off that site. It’s one of the reasons that starting in a community-driven site can get you a stronger starting point than having a site just out on the Internet. Today it would just be joining a social network and work from there, linking to your full site if you do the longer-form thing.

  1. Fake message from a “person” who said that I should check out xanga to start a blog.