Today, I captured all of the contents of articles that were submitted to my favorite website from ten years ago and tucked them behind a locked door. I am, of course, speaking of fatDOG, the personal website of mine that exploded into an online journal featuring more than 30 authors when I took my first public foray into data-backed website development.
One could almost draw a straight line from the technical things I was playing with at that time (late 2000 to early 2001, for those not keeping track) to the career in which I now call myself a professional.
fatDOG was so much more than that, though. I learned over the years that it was an arena for many of my friends — and even their friends — to express themselves in ways they could not afford to anywhere else. Some played with poetry to various degrees of success, others cranked out opinion pieces, and some put together serial stories that remain some of the best writing I’ve read.
The ways in which this simple website — a multi-author blog before such a thing was commonplace or simple to do — touched people are numerous. It touched the authors in a special way, and they were then able to reach out to the readers, sparking conversation about topics as far ranging as love, life, drugs, careers, music, fear, self-doubt, and confidence.
This website captured the emotions of a few dozen people in their late teens and early twenties as they experienced high school graduation, entering college, the September 11th attacks, and the personal battles of college and quarter-life. To this day, it is shocking and fun to read it all back.
So, while I have made the decision to “lock the door” on the website as a new annual bill of hosting quickly approaches, I have not and will not lose the key. I will be bringing all of nearly 600 original articles submitted to the website back online in the near future, and asking my contributors to come back for a bit and comment on their thoughts, fears, and work from up to ten years ago.
I can’t wait to find out what we all think of ourselves when the time comes to look back at the places from which we all came.
To the many authors and readers, friends and lurkers — you remain the integral part of the favorite thing I have ever built. I encourage you to head over to fatDOG, now, and review some choice quotes and many of the site’s famous splash images in the special “locked” page that is now up.
Bask in the history of the fatDOG website at http://thosekids.org/fatdog/