Jason Kottke: 25 years of blogging
Jason Kottke, on the day of his website’s 25th anniversary, writing about how kottke.org started:
Around this time, more and more of what I was reading online were diaries and these things called weblogs. The updates on weblogs & diaries were smaller but more frequent than on other personal sites — their velocity felt different, exhilarating. But by the time I actually got interested enough to start my own weblog, there were so many of them — hundreds! maybe thousands! — that I thought I was too late, that no one would be interested. I forged ahead anyway and on March 14, 1998, I started the weblog that would soon become kottke.org.
25 years later and it’s still going: what an accomplishment and what an inspiration. You’ve been thinking of starting a blog? You think that there are “too many of them, that you’re too late, that no one would be interested?” That didn’t stop Jason Kottke back in 1998, and it should not stop you in 2023. Look at him now. If you start your blog today, twenty-five years from now, you could be the one writing about your old, inspiring, and successful website.
kottle.org is obviously one of my favourite things on the internet, and one of the inspirations for the blog you’re currently reading. By my estimates, I must have started reading kottke.org on a regular basis in 2007 or 2008, around the time when I truly became a web junkie — not unlike Jason himself ten years before apparently — reading Gizmodo, Boing Boing, Daring Fireball, MacRumors, and Cracked, browsing Yimmy Yayo’s Tumblr, signing up for Twitter, watching Revision3 shows, listening to CNET early podcasts, and not missing one episode of Leo Laporte’s This Week In Tech.
I’m not gonna go through the whole history of the site, but it eventually took off in a way that I didn’t anticipate. Since 2005, kottke.org has been my full-time job and supports my family. I’ve met so many people from all over the world through my work here, including many life-long friends and my (now ex-) wife. I’ve spoken at conferences and travelled the world. I got to be on TV. I launched a membership program (which you should totally join if you haven’t already) that has given the site an incredible boost as it powers through its third decade.
This morning, completely ignoring that today was the 25th birthday of the site (I knew it was happening, but didn’t the know the exact date), I opened my RSS reader and watched a few great videos from JP Coovert, after Jason Kottke wrote about them. After realising I wasn’t paying for this incredible content shared on a daily basis, I thought: “Why don’t I pay for Kottke the same way I pay for Netflix or the freaking New York Times?” and I purchased a membership.
If you already know and appreciate kottke.org, today is a good day to become a patron, and if you don’t know kottke.org, you’re in for a treat. Like I said in the comments section of the 25th anniversary post, there should be hundreds of websites just like it — blogs / self-published magazine hybrids — but there is just not many of them around. The more reasons to support them if you can.
I cannot wait to listen to the latest episode of the Talk Show with John Gruber: Jason Kottke is the guest. The previous episode they did together 5 years ago is one of my favourite podcast episodes ever: I must have listened to it three or four times already (which, at more than two hours long, is saying something).