Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
black and white Hustle-printed ceramic mug on table
Photo by Garrhet Sampson / Unsplash

Attending a little nerd gathering of local Tampa engineers a few weeks ago someone mentioned that they enjoyed reading my blog because it felt like a glimpse into the past of the web. Of course with a bit of a positive comment my direction I had to dive deeper and ask this individual why.

They mentioned it felt like sites in the early days of the Internet with no ads and no attempt to attract their focus/attention/money toward some product/service. I mentioned that a few of those sites still exist and even kept their design from the past - this site has JavaScript which to some is a no no.

Either way it got me thinking. If you were to browse a large chunk of the Internet today - you aren't reading content just because someone decided to put content on the web. You are reading something that was produced in an attempt to draw your attention towards something or buy something.

Not everything though starts like that - take a high school classmate who works as a flight attendant that would photograph everything about the plane, the city and the travel as they bounced around to cities around the world. They naturally grew to a large following with just quality original photos that were of places all around the world.

As years passed I noticed the amount of hash tags per post were hitting the 30-40 mark which seemed like an intentional effort to spread these posts even further or some automation in play. This friend appeared to have success with a large following (100k~) of photos/videos of flying around.

One day I realized I hadn't seen a new photo/video in quite a while and got curious. I looked for their page and saw they had a call out for a new profile & book. This was a professional book with branding and more with a far less sum of followers. Did their hobby turn into a business?

Ultimately I don't know, but I'd like to believe what started as a hobby turned into a something more for that individual.

influence letters on floor
Photo by Diggity Marketing / Unsplash

Other friends take part in social media to attract attention from brands to become "influencers". They get shipped some product and have to spam their network about this new great thing - even if it turns out its garbage. You quickly realize that those interacting with these ad messages are others in the same situation.

You realize this is a friend from 10+ years ago and you don't care too much about this constant stream of advertisements masquerading as a social media post - so you mute or stop following said individual.

Is it still possible to contribute to the Internet without an ulterior motive? I think about myself blogging a lot about that. I've gotten countless requests to just hyperlink words to specific websites or one single guest post and I say no every-time. I don't want my hobby of blogging to turn into something that forces my hand in any other direction.

My blog has no ads and no trackers. I don't know if 0 people read this or 1,000. I like writing weekly so I can build a public journal of my life. I just have to figure out a more long-term storage (ie static site generation) to prepare my content to survive past me.

So I may not be hustling the web, but I'm sure blogging weekly.

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