Portrait photo of me, taken in 2004
A Short History of a Metamorphosis
“With great power, comes great responsibility” ( Uncle Ben in the Amazing Spiderman )
With age, comes a lot of experiences. As my birthday approaches and September will see me “turning” 49 years old, one year away from the big 5 0, I look back at my life and reflect upon “blogging” and the social media world.
I can remember when I was at University in the early 1980s and we laboriously looked in library catalogues for books and used cassette tapes to record our computer data upon. My friend studied Information Processing while I opted for a degree in Biology, being enamoured by the fascinating and beautiful natural world that we are inextricably parts of.
I remember living at the student accommodation and walking across the big lawns late at night to the student lab, to accompany my friend to the room where the huge dot matrix printers were churning out the continuous print-outs.
Upon visiting my old University, years after I had graduated, I was amazed by the new Compact Disc technology. My mind boggled over just how much data one little round disc could contain and display via a computer. Since then we have, of course, moved onto DVDs and onto Blu-ray discs, and have moved from kilobytes to terabytes of storage.
I tinkered with BBS or the Bulletin Board System when I was about 30 years old, then got into Yahoo Messenger Service and ICQ or “I Seek You” as it was also euphemistically known as.
Having a love of learning and a big capacity for reading and absorbing information, and connecting the dots, I found quite a few Forums which I actively participated in.
Back then, the Forums I frequented ran on platforms such as the ezboard and Yuku Message Boards. The platforms were impressive, allowing aesthetic looking home pages, with categories which could be password-protected or even hidden, and they were easy to navigate. However, they did not allow for Blogs, or Web-Logs as the word Blogs is shortened for.
Then I found Blogger and there was no stopping me. My first web-log or blog using Blogger was personal and only made available to several people close to me. In it, I blogged about my personal evolution in terms of growing up spiritually, but also included some day to day stuff, like cooking burgers for my cat, using a book called the “Kitty Café”. It had recipes for cats in it. The only problem was that I liked eating what I cooked, so my cat had to share with me!
Blogger changed and I got locked out of it, and moved onto My Space. I set up what I thought was a nice My Space space, but after a while of putting up with “politicking” in the spaces of the My Space world, I withdrew my My Space page (to the chagrin of some). But not to worry, as not surprisingly, I moved onto – you guessed it – Facebook !!
I have read recently that if Facebook was a country, it would be the third biggest country in the world.
Mind you, perhaps as an older Blogger, I don’t use Facebook to post about my personal experiences or to diarise or to blog about me, but to find out what my acquaintances there are up to. From time to time, I will post a link to my Wall that I want to share with my FB friends.
I have been involved with many forums, including the philanthropic Omidyar, which folded, and have joined LinkedIn and some Social Bookmarking sites.
Social Media Sites
Since then, I took advantage of other Social Media networking via the mixed use platforms, such as Ning. Ning is an online platform used to create a social network, complete with individual user profiles, and blogs, groups, forum discussions, photos, videos and events. For a while, commencing two years ago, I had a Ning site, called “Peace in Practice” iwith which I intended to promote actions for peace worldwide. But I cancelled it last year at the time of my birthday, because it was costing me money to run it, and because only one person beside myself was ever active on it. I needed a new platform to post informational articles, allowing for “likes” and feedback comments.
War of the Words
Even though my stated aims were “peace in practice”, I had a war with two members on my Peace in Practice Ning site. One of my members didn’t like some of the content posted and became quite vitriolic until I responded with a balanced reply, after which, he left the site.
Another was worried that I didn’t give out my full name as the site owner/creator. After that person asking me abruptly “who are you really?” and after myself wondering that if I gave out my full legal name (and maybe my address and phone number, while I was at it) if such would make any difference to her having a positive experience with my site, she left the site before I could reply to her!
Not to worry though, because I transferred the idea of peace in practice to the free Mixxt platform, which also had capacity for blogs and forum discussions, and I invited my previous Ning members over.
WordPress at Last – but not Least
However, my Mixxt site quickly became in-active. I needed a platform upon which I could build a suite of informative or educational articles about an interest of mine, animals. Then, I found – WordPress!! It started with finding some sites that I was quite impressed with. I noted that they were run on the WordPress platform. I got to thinking this year, that I could squeeze into my life, amongst a demanding full-time job, a blog with information about – animals – one of my favourite areas.
I like to give back to the community and I love reading and writing, so I had a quick look at the themes and immediately liked Bold Life. I set up the home page for my other (and first) WordPress Blog, “Fascinating Animals”, in March this year, 2012, and set up a few static pages and my first few posts, and a few widgets in the Side-bar. I got good feedback for it from my sister, and then set to with a will. My intention was, and is, to draw out people’s love and knowledge of, and interest in animals.
Upon impulse, during the early days, I felt compelled to write up my own article about “Animal Taxonomy” and that post has proved to be the most popular post of my blog.
I am glad that my love of something is helping people, from an educational view-point. I was truly astonished at the number of views of my blog, “Fascinating Animals” over its first 3 months.
The Wrap-up on WordPress
I find WordPress dot com very satisfactory to use, with its huge range of themes, and the Help Forums, and equipped of course, with one’s own personal experience with internet tools, and one’s enthusiasm, energy and intellect. As an informational platform, it can be moderated, and customised to enable likes by fellow WordPress bloggers, and comments for all or part of a site.
Three months after “Fascinating Animals” took off, I then got the hunch to start another WordPress blog –
so I could share my thoughts, ideas and experiences on issues other than strictly “animals” – and so – this Blog you are reading now, called “Our Lovely World” was born.
In setting up this Blog, the term “our lovely world” had already been taken for the URL of someone else’s home page, so I settled upon “star struck world” for this blog’s URL. I believe that we are each capable of spinning ourselves a merry little star-struck world, and WordPress is helping with this.
I feel that I have come full circle with WordPress, by adding to my informational site, “Fascinating Animals”.
“Our lovely world” is where I can genuinely be myself.
With computer technology and social networking via the Internet, comes great power – the potential for good or for bad. Witness the revolutions around the globe, ushered in by Twitter and Facebook.
Screen dump from "Fascinating Animals"