2021 seems to be a strange year to start a blog. Everyone and everything is on one of the social media platforms and that seems to be how new content or new creators get discovered. Plus, those social media platforms also seem to optimise for short attention spans with short TikTok’s, short tweets, short captioned Instagram posts and so on.
The only exception I can think of is YouTube where the algorithm optimises for longer videos to keep people on the platform for the most amount of time. Although, that may soon change too.
It feels that there is a very niche group of people who care about long-form content. And not just any long-form content, but written long-form content. So why start a blog? Surely, that’s the type of thing people will care the least about?
Well, I think so too. And truth be told – I’m doing this for myself. You see, back when I was in school our Internet access was heavily restricted. The majority of sites, except those deemed to be educational, such as Google, BBC and Wikipedia, were blocked. YouTube and Facebook were unblocked from 20:00 to 21:00 and Twitter was completely shut.
And so, because of that boredom, I decided to start my first blog whilst I was still at school. I was really into reading tech news back then, so I thought it would be cool to have my own blog surrounding that topic too. Going through its archives now, after 3 years of actively writing for it and maintaining it, I was quite surprised about some of the stuff I wrote. Yes, some of it was silly and cringy, but some things were quite deep and thoughtful for a 15-year-old.
Riding on that wave of wanting to create something as a teenager, I also started a YouTube channel filming tech reviews. The channel was growing quite quickly and my videos were getting a few thousand views each week. My most viewed video had 180,000+ views on it and I was even invited to visit a new YouTube Space in London.
However, because of exams at school, I had to take a pause with the blog and the YouTube channel. And then, as I began university I completely neglected those things and focused on
studying having fun.
Person blog vs. substack & medium
I wanted to return to YouTube for a few years now, but every time I sat down to plan for it I realised that the videos I had in mind were all over the place. Finance, burgers, tech, philosophy and blockchain don’t belong on the same channel and running multiple channels together with my job might be a bit too much.
However, as a part of my work, I began writing regular blog posts for my company and that reignited that desire to have a personal blog again. In fact, I realised, because this is a personal blog and I don’t get paid for it I can write whatever I want here. That may sound obvious (and it is), but I always felt that there needs to be some kind of result (monetary, website visits, purchases or otherwise) I need to achieve to justify starting something. By recognising that obvious fact, I learnt that the key for me is to be able to organise my thoughts around a certain topic and share it with people, no matter how niche the audience might be. Incidentally, taras.me domain name was available and so I decided to go for it.
I spent some time choosing between different blogging platforms such as Substack, Medium or a self-hosted WordPress website. Both Substack and Medium offered a way of getting my content discovered and potentially getting paid for it. However, I felt that by relying on a third-party platform I will be giving in into wanting to have those “results” that I mentioned above. After my realisation, I wanted to completely remove anything that can reward me for writing these posts, so that I can focus on the actual process of writing them.
Plus, I felt that with Substack and Medium I will also be giving up some of the control I have over the look and feel of the website, the content and other data that it may generate. And so, I decided to go for the “old-school” option of just a website.
And so, this is my first ever post on this blog 🎉 It is a bit personal which, I specifically wanted it to be, because other posts I am planning to write go in-depth about topics that are completed unrelated to me, my work, friends or family, so keep an eye out for those!