Of Blogs Past Part One: Alien Intelligencer

I started my first blog in the spring of 2001. I’d read about blogs and decided to start my own, but didn’t quite grasp the nature of blogging software. Instead of using a special software or online platform I posted an html page with posts slugged with dates in reverse chronological order. This only lasted a week or two before I jumped onboard Blogger during the days when Evan Williams was running it single-handedly and searching for a revenue model.

I toyed with a variety of names. I remember the first name was Go Go Actionblog, but I quickly settled on Alien Intelligencer (with the tagline ‘There is no other!’ which I still think is a pretty good tagline).

Through the summer and early autumn it was part personal diary, part look-at-this-cool-stuff-on-the-web. But then, after September 11, 2001, it gained a political dimension as I tried to sort out my response to the terrorist attacks and the ensuing drumbeat for war.

Through the 1990s I was involved with a variety of zines and micropublishing ventures. The rise of the internet in the 90s destroyed much of that ecosystem, but in some ways blogging was a satisfying substitution. It was more immediate, cheaper, could be done more independently, and reached a broader audience.

Apparently it helped scratch some creative itch since at this writing I’ve been blogging pretty much steadily for seventeen years.

I ended Alien Intelligencer in September of 2007. At that point grad school was taking up all my time and I turned my blogging attention to themes and ideas I was pursuing as a historian-in-training.

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