On Becoming Internet Famous

I used to think that I wanted to be Internet Famous, but that never happened, and I'm okay with that

I remember being a part of the whole 'blog revolution' that happened on the Internet in the early 2000's1. It's where a lot of people decided that instead of putting together a web site that was just a bunch of web pages2, that they would instead consist of a main page full of the author's thoughts in reverse-chronoligal order, that they would update frequently. A log of their thoughts that would appear on the web, or web log, or 'blog' for short3.

So I started my own blog. I updated it all the time with as much random nonsense as I could come up with, I shared it with all my friends, and a good time was had by all4.

Eventually, though I saw that some people were making a living doing a blog somehow, and I thought that I might be able to have some of the same success by doing what they were doing. I copied what I found other people doing, and I did eventually attact the eyes of one advertiser, and I ran ads for a while. I even installed Google Ads when they were significantly less obnoxious. I made a grand total of about $10 over about a decade, which isn't quite enough to live on.

That pattern repeated several times. "I know what I did wrong," I'd think to myself, and I'd spin up another blog to try again and "do it right this time." I repeated this exercise way too many times to mention, with way too many failures to link to. They all failed to gain self-sufficiency, and I'm not going to link them all here, because I've realized that that doesn't matter.

Every time I started a new blog or a new YouTube channel, I would look at what popular people were doing and try to emulate that and catch the popular wave to squeeze myself into the zeitgeist. And when it inevitably didn't work5, my threshold for continuing to produce content for the latest blog would get lower and lower and I'd lose motivation and then give up sooner and sooner. Eventually, I would wallow in self-pity and then stop posting altogether.

My brain would go down a weird rabbit-hole of self-doubt where I'd ask myself why people weren't looking at my stuff that I spent so much time making? I'd blame this thing or that factor, or I'd get sucked into believing that people just weren't looking at my stuff because they must be jerks, and why should I bother making things for jerks who can't appreciate that I'm trying to make a thing? I mean, yeah, I'm copying a popular trend and making a pale imitation of a thing in an attempt catch a bit of popularity before the shine is off of it and the world moves on to another thing, but my content is just as good as anyone else's right?

After a long time of wallowing in that self-pity, I realized that the problem with that line of thinking is that it's useless. Maybe my content was great, maybe it was lousy, maybe my content was somewhere in the middle. The quality doesn't matter6. What mattered is that I was trying to compete with billions of other websites on the internet and millions of content creators on YouTube. For every article on a topic that I would write, there were thousands of similar articles, some done by professionals with advertising budgets. For every game I wanted to do a walkthrough and post it on YouTube, there are already thousands of walkthroughs more detailed than mine with higher production values and more thorough content.

I was trying to compete with full-time professionals at their own game by cobbling something together in twenty minutes a night after I did my Real Job™, and I lost sight of why I even wanted to put things on the Internet in the first place: because it's fun.

I had somehow managed to convince myself that emulating other peoples' successes was the way that I was supposed to put things on the Internet. That it would somehow automatically get me lots of traffic and make me lots of money so I could quit the drudgery of my 9-to-5, and blah blah blah. But what I lost sight of is that I have a unique voice. I have unique ideas and I have the infinite canvas of the World Wide Web and the Internet to express them in whatever way I can come up with.

I'm done doing things the way that I see other people doing them and hoping for success to just fall in my lap. I'm going to build this site the way I want to. I'm going to make the kinds of videos that I want to and post them to YouTube (or not, depending on my mood). If people visit this website, then that's great. If they don't, then that's great, too. If I never make a dime off my work, then that's okay. It's expected, even.

I'm going to continue making this site the way I want to and I'm going to continue making the kinds of YouTube videos that I want because nobody else is me. Nobody else can create the things that exist in my head, and I have an obligation to myself to make those things real, not to make the visions of other people a reality. That's their problem.


  1. Or thereabouts. I'm not going to bother looking up the date
  2. Imagine that
  3. Because people on the internet have to abbreve everything for some reason
  4. More accurately, a good time was had by me, which is about all I can really say for certain
  5. Because it hadn't up to now
  6. Okay, maybe it matters a little but I'm pretty sure that it doesn't matter as much as it could (or should)

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