Every personal blog has an autobiographical blurb so that new readers can quickly understand the context from which the posts are being written. Today I'm trying to write one for this site, but am not happy with anything I've written yet. The blurb, being short, relies on identity labels, with any elaboration limited to, at most, two of the identities.

Here's the best I've come up with so far:

My name is Branden Frederick. I'm a nerd who has wasted his life playing with gadgets and computers. This is my personal blog.

Notably omitted are what I do for work, where I live or come from, or how old I am. All that the reader can tell from this blurb is that I'm a self-deprecating nerd. Is that really the image I want to project? No, but at least it's not cocky.

The struggle to identify myself here is that I still don't know the context of my own blog – I haven't written anything yet, so I don't know who the readers might be, so I don't know what context needs to be given. (Therefore this struggle is pointless at this time.) I have autobiographical blurbs posted on my Photo Portfolio, my Camera blog, and on Flickr, each slightly different, but each presenting the information about me in a style that makes sense for the site.

where is this blog coming from?

This is not my first pointless personal website – far from it. I am a long-time world wide web user, first "going online" when I was eleven years old in 1993. The web back then was dark and scary: search engines were primitive, page layouts were hideous and rendered different based on the browser, everything was always under construction, and web-rings ruled o'er the land! For some reason I wanted in on it, and sometime in 1995 I made a GeoCities website. (This was back when GeoCities sites were just numbers – I was in Area51 Vault, site number 1256.)

Writing this, I paused to go digging for screenshots of what my webpages looked like from back then. I found one, but ... uh, eww, I'd advise against re-reading stuff you wrote in high school. Here's a screenshot of a website I made in 1998, compressed enough to hide some of my embarrassment.

Look at those web design skills! I'm a natural at this!

Another way I can brag about how long I've been surfing the web is by pointlessly reminiscing about an HTML textbook I purchased in 1996: Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 3.2 in a Week, written by Laura Lemay (whose website doesn't even acknowledge technology, let alone this series of books she wrote) (also, she lives near me, which is giving me weird empathetic feelings, like maybe this whole web thing turned sour on her and that's why she disavows modern technology and has turned herself towards gardening) [Ed: this is bordering on Laura Lemay fan fiction and is getting weird, stop it].


The point is, um, that my autobiographical blurb should be mostly lies you're trying to convince yourself to believe try to somehow summarize the important parts of who I am while hastily wallpapering over the bad parts, just like everyone else's.

With that cynicism in mind, let's try a new blurb:

Branden Frederick has been working his way up in IT management since the early 2000s and has both personal and professional opinions about end-user technology. He is also a nerd.

We've moved to the third person, added some professionalism and lessened the self-deprecation. Too business-y? I'm not sure. I don't love it, but I'm willing to give is a chance, like an adopted dog.