I am naturally technophobic; I avoided the computer classes that started just as I was entering high school, preferring to focus on more useful fare like British Tradition. (So glad I at least forced myself to sweat through my O.P. tops in the somewhat related typing class, which proved to be the most useful course I ever took.) Therefore, when I decided I should launch a blog to keep my writing skills from rusting over and to add my voice to the world, it was a challenge for me to figure out how to create one, and what it should or could be.
The first blogs I remember seeing were Towleroad and Page Six Six Six aka Perez Hilton, and I didn't even totally grasp how to read them at first. Visually, it was confusing. Content-wise, I of course cottoned to Towleroad, but Perez made me queasy — how were so many typos okay? (How are so many typos okay to this day for TMZ?)
I can still remember the joy I felt when I figured out how to post, how to upload an image and how to embed a video. I remember every time a post blew up, bringing in hits and new readers. I remember the longtime commenters, the trolls, the (not-exaggerating) stalkers, the anti-gay gays, the friends I met in person after they discovered my blog, the spam and the never-ending (and validating!) pitches and free tickets and photographers' snaps of half- or all-naked male models that I was sent and told to use at my discretion.
I've used it to show off my humor (both high and low), to flaunt my obsessions, to reality-test my sexual diversions and perversions, to laud the art I love, to lash out against the enemies of gay people and to broadcast my admiration for Madonna. Unfortunately, I've also had to spend time debating a long list of pathetically time-worn topics, everything from what free speech is, whether gay people should be expected to be liberal, why people who do not identify as racists can still do racist things, why it's okay to take photographs of people in public without their permission, why flamboyant gay people are not why homophobes hate us and many more. It gets exhausting, and I think it's a microcosm of why people get very concerned about their lawns as they age — they're sick and tired of engaging in the same debates over and over with new cycles of citizens.
I've used my blog to help me gather Kickstarter funds for my Encyclopedia Madonnica: 20th Anniversary Edition, and I will also shortly be announcing how to order my next book, MLVC60. It was very helpful in raising money for Boy Culture: The Series (which is shot and will soon be edited).
In spite of all these things, positive and negative, the blog has faced and continues to face some serious existential challenges. I was once part of a blogging network, earning a small but worthwhile amount of money each month from Google and other ads. Because I've always kept things on the verge of racy, this led to my expulsion from that network, and to a ridiculously unfair banning by Google AdSense that was, in part, the fault of my not being forwarded the exact image Google objected to, resulting in the image staying up for over a year. By the time I'd removed it, Google AdSense had apparently lifetime-banned me — and there is no way to get any representative to explain why or to offer any insight as to whether making changes could lead to my being welcomed back. Losing that sum of money every month year after year has been a drain, and it doesn't help that I still encounter people who earnestly believe this blog is my day job and primary means of support.