A lot of people tend to ask me when, how and why I got online.. and more specifically the history of my blogging. The internet and blogging is so much a part of me, I can’t imagine life without it. So, I decided to write a little story of when I first went got online…. until present day :)
WHEN IT ALL STARTED…
The year of 1992. I was around 11 or 12 years old. I was in Australia with my my family and in a new school. It was around this time that my parents got connected to the internet. I still remember the days of *beeee* *boooop* *bzzzzzz* sounds that the model (loudly) used to make ;) And how s-l-o-w the internet was. Actually, I didn’t realise it was slow then, because I didn’t know any better! And there were certainly not many websites to surf around then either anyway. It was the days that there were few porn sites online, or at least not easy to stumble upon. In fact, I don’t even remember stumbling on any kind of inappropriate adult material until I was in my late-teens – those were the innocent internet days :)
I created a website, Beverly’s Interactive Website. I was fascinated with computers, and taught myself HTML. Those were also the days I had to type raw HTML into Windows Notepad. I learned quickly because I adored it, probably at the expense of my schoolwork ;) My website had a sky-blue clouds background, and I had little Java and Perl games on it. One thing it did NOT have – photos. This was before the days where it was common for people to take photos and upload them online.
And, I started a blog. It wasn’t called “blog” then, I don’t think the term was even coined yet? I just called it “my diary”. I would write about my day in Notepad, then upload it to the website. I don’t think very many people read it, and if you know me back from those days then I am totally astounded :P It was a quiet, online life and I loved it.
At around 15 yrs old, I’d learned enough to create another website, Stardust. It was pastels – soft pinks, blues and purples, with a custom designed header (of a cream flower and STARDUST wrapped around it in pastel colours). I disliked all the neon colours and animated .gif images out there, so my website Stardust was the exact opposite of that. It was also exceptionally girly ;)
It was around this time I discovered eBay. Oh how the world opened for me! This was unlike the eBay we know today.. it was very small, very niche, and I loved it. This was waaay before PayPal existed so I would sneakily change USD at money changers, wrap it up in magazine paper (never plain paper or thieves can see there’s money inside) and send it off to the seller. And I’ve been addicted to eBay ever since.
WHEN THE INTERNET REALLY EXPLODED…
It was when I was in my early-teens that my parents cotton’ed on that I was getting quite obsessed with the internet. They were worried. I would be on the computer immediately after coming home from school, and refuse to go to bed until past midnight. And, often, I’d get back up and sneak back online (hehehehhehe). They often got mad at me, because I wouldn’t bother with schoolwork and wouldn’t do anything except stare at the computer screen like a weirdo, but I didn’t care. Sorry Mum and Dad for stressing you out all those years!
I suppose I really noticed the internet taking off, specifically in the ‘teen girl’ segment, when I was around 16 years old (1997). By then, I had a website Gypsy, and then a domain, gemz.net. Quite a few of you actually know me from back then (isn’t it crazy how much we’ve all grown since?!?!). I soon fell in with the teen girl segment. I was both fascinated, as I LOVED the idea of girls my age also being into computers, HTML and website design… and I was also resentful – because I soon quickly found out teen girls are competitive and frankly, bitchy. I was never really exposed to that at school, so I was alarmed at how catty girls could be online. It made me wonder whether these girls weren’t very well-liked or respected at school, and so took out all their frustrations and anger online. To this day, I still don’t know :P
My website and work also kept being compared to so-and-so, and I really disliked that. For that reason I never really actively got involved, and kept trying to pull back and not be part of all that teen girl drama, but I never really succeeded ;) The first few years were spent making friends with girls I liked, and being fascinated with the growth of teen girls coming online, many of whom I became fast friends with. Then the next few years were spent pulling away and eventually dropping out of the scene altogether.
It was at 16 years old (1997) that I started food blogging. I didn’t know a SINGLE blog that talked about food either in Australia or Singapore, compared to nowadays where there are thousands. Back then, it was NOT cool, and I was considered quite a weirdo. But I didn’t care, it made me *different* from other kids and all my life I was always seeking ways to be different and not normal to everyone else. Back then, my motto was “The worst thing is to be average and normal; to fit into the crowd. You’ll never stand out, you’ll never be remembered.” Do I still think that? Yes :)
WHEN FOOD BLOGGING EXPLODED…
Food blogging still wasn’t popular, until at least year 2000. I’d been food blogging for 3 years by then, but no one I knew in real life did that. There were smatterings of food blogs but very few and far between. It wasn’t until around 2005 when food blogging became ALL THE RAGE. How far we’ve come since then! I couldn’t believe there were people out there that LOVED food as much as me.. that would bother to photograph and write about it. Still, most were in the USA, very few in Australia.
By now, my friends were used to my strange photographing habits with food. And it wasn’t considered as weird anymore, so I got less eye rolls. Now, I love how it’s perfectly normal, and even most restaurants’ staff don’t blink an eye when I take photos. It’s awesome :)
WHERE I AM NOW…
I don’t own a personal site anymore. I gave up on that when I graduated University, started a job, and life just got too busy to upkeep one. But I’ve always had my blog. That’s a freakin’ 18 years of blogging!!! It’s staggering when I really think about it. I’ve spent more of my life sharing it online, than I’ve had offline. The internet is a whole different world now, in many respects so much more fun. But I consider myself lucky to have experienced the early internet days and to now be able to say “I told you so!!! It would be considered cool!” to allll those people that thought I was a nut, back when I was a little kid, for blogging about my life online and having a food blog.
WHY I LOVE THE INTERNET!
When I was growing up, people didn’t really ‘get’ the internet, and saw it as something negative – a distraction and a bad influence. I think many still do. But it’s done so much for me that I’ve only ever considered it a good thing, which I can break down into 3 main parts:
- Awareness. The internet opened doors into other countries for me. Sure, my family traveled widely and I was comfortable with various cultures, but it’s not the same as when you have the world at your fingertips. Nowadays, people are aware of global events, charities, and news, way way way more than before. You don’t need to be a frequent traveler to be totally aware of the world around you.
- Jobs. Every single job I’ve applied for I got due to my love of the internet or my blog. With a success rate of 100%. That’s pretty good, I reckon! 18 years ago people would have laughed if they knew a little kid could get legitimate jobs just from that. Even my parents used to say “You spend so much time online and not studying, how will you get a job?” Well, I managed to :P This is why i always believe that passion gets you what you want, more so than academics. I was a good student with really good grades, yet I feel that only played a ~30% role in all the jobs I applied and was accepted for.
- Friends. Ahhhh… where do I even start?! SO many of my best friends I first ‘met’ online, or at least strengthened the friendship online. In fact, pretty much every one of them. They say the best of friends have mutual hobbies and likes, and what better way to meet these people than online? Even when I was young, I was always up for meeting up with people that I knew online.. after having been online friends for awhile and establishing we’d be great offline friends too. They are still some of my best friends now and frankly, without the internet, I’d probably not have very many friends right now ;)
So that’s it. Crap, sorry it’s so long! I ramble. But I figured I don’t often write a lot anymore.. and a few people have been asking for more written stuff/my thoughts/etc, so here you go. What was the internet like for you? Do write and post a link to your blog in the comments below so we can read :)
Any more questions for me? You can do so below. There’s also a whole bunch of questions that I’ve already answered at the link below as well.