First things first

It’s weird starting a new blog, because I haven’t blogged in years.

The concept seems to have changed, somewhat (I am completely aware, by the way, of how gerontic this makes me sound).

It used to be that blogging was a fairly private act even though it was so blatantly public. I’m talking about confessional-level private, full-blown-“what the toot is XYZ thinking”-all-out mudslinging-dear-diary (and friends)-today-I-dot-dot-dot level private. I’m quite sure if you grew up in the late 90s, there are at least 10 points of reference here, all probably 404 errors right now.

It was that weird thing where it became okay to be completely emo for other people’s reading pleasure, and I suppose this was back in the early 2000s when we weren’t completely aware of exactly how ‘inter’ the Internet was. Blogging doesn’t really mean the same thing now, does it, not when we’re essentially blogging every time we update our statuses on Facebook. I’ve noticed a remarkable transference of emo mudslinging type blogstuff onto Facebook statuses, which must mean that somewhere, some-when, the blogging enterprise as-we-by-which-I-mean-I knew it got its marrow sucked out clean.

Somewhere down the line, I think we got lazy about writing about our thoughts and feelings in continuous, paragraphic prose; in a nice block-shaped way, with overarching thematic handles in each post. I lament that somewhat; it’s good training for when one has to do public speaking and keep things on topic.

It seems, nowadays, that when we talk about “blog,” we seem to mean it in the vague, iffily professional way that I’m using “blog” to describe this website. I think it began when government agencies started using “blogs,” you know? Or, god, when schools started using blogs and there were designated school bloggers. I barf just thinking about it. Or how a “blog” is a legitimate deliverable for grant-receiving artists to show to their sponsors that they’re actually working while doing residencies in other cities.

For what it was worth, that little slice of honest-to-god personality that blogs used to have in the good old blogspot days has given way to something more crass and professional. The idea of blogging in one’s “capacity” as anything is proof that the Internet I grew up with is dead and gone. But with its death comes markedly better porn-access, fantastic shopping and cats, which I think is an okay exchange. Though it does mean that I must declare from the onset that this ‘blog’ is written in my capacity as Joel Tan, general writer of things, in need of freelance writing work and other such things that a ‘career blog,’ so-called (is there any other kind?) seems to facilitate.

Then again I guess it’s not such a bad deal. Blogging about one’s career, no matter how much it presumes a) that one has a career worth blogging about, b) that anyone cares to read about said career etc, at least means one is beginning to think of one’s career in concrete terms, an idea I will no-doubt flesh out in time. I suppose, in the same way blogs can be used as evidence that a transaction– imaginary, actual or tacit– has occurred (especially with hipster F&B and sustainable living businesses, e.g. farm-to-table restaurants whose blogs feature named pigs before their head-to-toe consumption), so does this blog mainly exist to show my mother that I have a career, one that I am writing about instead of writing for.

Two things that then need to be said:

1) I’ve been told that I speak and write with many subordinate clauses for which, and I mean it, I do not apologise.

2) Also, in all the years since I started blogging in my teens, they’ve apparently still not found a way for people to edit posts directly as they appear on the website.


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