It started innocently – a couple of emails on how much stuff costs back there and how tired I was. I wanted to share with my family and friends the novelty of a new country, in a journal-like fashion. But emails felt intrusive given that not everyone on the list cared about the price of yoghurt in the suburb of Paris I had moved in.
So I switched to an account on a blogging platform (back in 2003 there were such things). And about a year later, on my own domain – the same you’re reading this on.
In an age where everyone tweets and posts Facebook statuses or Instagram selfies, sharing one’s life online is nothing special to brag of. But 14 years ago, personal blogging was as exhibitionistic as topless sunbathing back in the 1900’s. I got love letters, I even got published in newspapers and cited in a Parliament speech (is it really a citation when the one quoting your words doesn’t know your name?) but most of all I got hate mail.
Still, disclosing personal feelings and deep memories to the entire world, just because you could, felt thrilling, exciting and a little forbidden. Plus, there was also the panache of feeling like a writer might feel in front of his blank pages.
For better or for worse, I had become one of the forerunners of online narcissism, the narrow niche of first-generation Romanian bloggers. It doesn’t feel special, not to you, not now, when you spend your time posting selfies on Instagram and checking out what everyone is doing on Facebook. But it did feel personal back then, and the link between a blogger and his regular readers was pretty special.
Many things happened since 2003 – everyone started blogging, then blogs became boring, just another personal branding tool or marketing channel. Now they are on their ways out, relics of times when Facebook was just a dream in the head of a Harvard undergraduate and “social circle” meant people you kept meeting or inviting to birthday parties.
A lifetime ago, back when blogging was cool, I used to be a blogger.
And now, I’ve started again.