Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Entrenchment

I've been "blogging" definitively since 2004, and probably earlier in some form or another. But I really picked it up during college, naturally, because when you're in college, you know, you have things to say.

Some people go on to write theses, getting published and the like. My writing strayed towards the poetic and reflective (some might say "self-absorbed"). I've no doubt chronicled some of the most defining moments of my life, sometimes overtly, but often coding into songs and sermon-like pastiche my more intimate struggles, my more complex relationships, and my more liberal convictions.

I've written a lot. And then, it was gone.

What's funny is that Xanga, the blogging site I used, was notably the outlier in my deeply-entrenched internet lifestyle, and I've been riding the techno-current pretty well for almost 20 years now...

Forget AOL; Prodigy chat-rooms were my gateway drug. I had a killer GeoCities mansion in junior high, which was shortly replaced by self-coded pages on my own local ISP's user directories.

Yea, it was the golden age of dialup, barely amid the dot-com boom, and I had my own dot-net domain name that I shared with my techy friends for personal emails. In high school, acting in what must have been a boredom-induced stupor, we frequently used this web space to store and transfer pirated music, movie rips, and cheat sheets for our English III vocab tests (sorry, Mrs. C!). When I wasn't wrapped up in our digital delinquencies, I found myself moderating wannabe-Honda-street-racer web forums, where coaching people not to buy cheap aftermarket parts was considered seasoned mechanical expertise...

A few years later, I fled Missouri to a prestigious, first-50 East-coast university for the holy advent of THE Facebook. And when I procured korywilcox.com, well, I was basically unstoppable. My only, lingering e-regret is my late adoption of Twitter, a move that has left me coveting prime korywilcox real estate (my name was claimed by some lazy, ten-post poser who quit squawking after just a few short days. My standing assumption is that he dropped his COM class.).

By the time I reversed course and returned to the pragmatic economics of living at home and attending the hometown state school (where I was then among a super-elite few in Missouri to even have a Facebook), WordPress and Blogger were really starting to make their mark as the go-to standards for serious blogging. And social-blogging hybrids like Tumblr were on the immediate horizon...

I wonder now, what on earth possessed me to stay with Xanga so far past its obvious prime? Filled to overflowing with angst and sprinkled with nerds, it was a six-year fad, at best; by the time the 7th graders who gold-rushed it had themselves gone on to college, they would have forgotten all about Xanga and how it subtly pioneered the now-ubiquitous "Like" concept (remember e-Props?) or the much beloved "I'm Listening / Watching / Reading" feature (which I might contend was really a primordial Amazon.com "app").

In a moment of clarity, several years ago, I even paid Xanga for a premium "membership," because I knew it would give me the ability to download my "archives." Thank God. But I only utilized this feature once, way back in 2008. Luckily, it was around this season in my never-ending cycle of self-promotion that I began trying to RSS import my hapless faux-pas of a blog into Facebook, too, redeeming another few years of posts (but only up to the point in 2011 that Facebook shifted towards its status-centric model and disabled automatic imports).

So, the bright side for me is that, despite the sudden, silent demise of Xanga, my dear digital diary is not lost in cyberspace. Perhaps just a handful of posts between June of 2011 and the present. And I'm certain that this was a truly tiny handful by comparison to "my early years." A few songs. And I have good records of those.

Still, the deletion of... me? It jarred me a little. Offended me a little. Highlighted how the past few years have been filled with a marked lack of concern about my long-standing internet entrenchment. I guess I've been a little focused on the day-to-day. Some would just call it "busy." But my ambivalence towards living the lifestyle of a semi-professional musician has led to the inadvertent cancellation of my GigSalad account, too (I still love you, Mark!); my good intentions to turn koryandelizabeth.com into a well-to-do, suburban family blog are still just good intentions; and mulling over the idea of ever recording another album makes the late, great "french fry song" seem like a distant, comedic prophecy about my rapidly-fleeting twenties.

This week, I've honestly been trying to dig myself out of the internet a little, but everywhere I click, I keep finding little pieces of a younger me with what seems like a lot more time, or else a lot less wasted time than perhaps I remember. For better or worse, my dearly departed Xanga blog was a "crown jewel" of this rather abundant decade of my life. I thought out loud, wrestled with God quite publically, and rarely, if ever, settled anything with myself.

And that settles it. Here's to the next ten years, internet. Hopefully, I'll find some way to drag myself along with me, wherever we go.

--kory // www.korywilcox.com

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