Dyers.org Turns 10 (That’s 60 In Web Years!)

jon dyer polaroid eyeOn January 10, 2002, Dyers.org started with a simple Hello World. Since then, the site has landed my face on television, in a couple of newspapers, in an iPhone app, and all over the web. In web years, Dyers.org is wearing a white belt, white shoes, and should be packing up its polyester pants to drive the Caddy down to Florida.

How Long Ago Is 10 Years In the WebSphere?

Dyers.org started up on MindSpring account when the fastest connection a geek could hope for was 1.5 megabit DSL. It ran on the Blogger platform before Blogger was eaten by Google. It predates American Idol, The Bachelor, and even the G4 Network. Back then, we were all talking about this new iPod thing that came out a couple of months before, which cost an unbelievable $399 for 5Gb of storage. We all thought we should’ve invented it, and we might’ve if we weren’t so busy playing Grand Theft Auto III day and night on our PS2s. Owners of the brand new Xbox console might’ve had a better chance if they weren’t so wrapped up with Halo.

Tweeting was 4 years away, and Tumblr and StumbleUpon were counting their anniversaries in months. No one was using LinkedIn, MySpace, or even Friendster because they hadn’t been thought of. Hell, Mark Zuckerberg was still a couple of years away from coming up with the Harvard-only web app he called “TheFacebook.”

Without vast virtual social networks in which to envelop themselves, nerds either sat home watching The X-Files and drooling about the possible release of Warcraft III, or they started blogs and blathered on and on about nothing.

And I stood there with a bunch of other nerds (wearing onions on our belts, which was the style at the time) and said, “people want to know what we eat for breakfast. We know they do.” Those other nerds became successful pro-bloggers, or hit the delete key when they realized that blogging was for teenage girls.

Despite being the wrong gender and age, I had an astounding 30 readers that I felt compelled to entertain. I kept blogging. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

What followed were years of meandering introspective blather, a couple of years of earnest pro-blogging, and 3 years of Life of Riley posts about what it’s like to quit your job and end up a stay at home dad.

And there were beards. Lots and lots of beards.

And by publishing every time I thought, “If I publish this, I’m going to look really stupid,” the original 30 expanded into a horde of really unique and interesting people. And although I don’t give you much of a reason to visit anymore, what with all the tweeting, and the texting, and the Facebooking, I know you’re still out there somewhere and I hope you’re doing well.

A Few Things I’ve Learned In A Decade Of Blogging

  • The web loves lists.
  • If Mother Theresa had a blog, someone out there would send her hate mail. You’re not Mother Theresa. You’ll get worse.
  • You can say 2+2=4 and someone is going to call you a conspiracy theorist who has been bought by the mainstream media.
  • Most of what you hope will do well won’t, and you will shake your head at what succeeds.
  • Proper tagging and promotion can more than make up for bad writing and lack of content.
  • Over time, blogging will turn you into a writer with no time to actually write.
  • Beware of bloggers who blog about blogging. There is a good chance that they are salesmen selling sales seminars.
  • Deadlines are more important than perfection because writing is never done perfect.
  • Write short, scannable text.
  • The web is fickle.
  • Give before you ask.
  • There are secret cabals of savvy folks out there who cross promote articles for each other to drive traffic. They sometimes work.
  • Blogging means that you will never be able to tell a story without someone cutting you off and saying that they read it already.
  • People you’ve never met will feel like they know you, but most of the time you’ll wonder if anyone’s really out there.
  • Stats can be exciting, but they really don’t matter.
  • You need to promote your posts, but promoting your own posts rarely works.
  • Your blog can get you in the paper and on TV. But, then what?
  • You can have your face circle the web for years and no one will recognize you on the street.
  • Whatever you publish in anger will be embarrassing in a couple of years.
  • You can be a big beard freak at the top of Google stats and there will be people will still want to hire you.
  • If your blog is not a labor of love, you’re going to have a hard time defining its success.

Going Forward

Now that the site is in its golden years, it’s sluggish and lazy, sleeping in a recliner covered in Cheetos. It occasionally snores itself awake long enough to drop something funny or facial hair related before drifting off again…which reminds me of a funny story about your Aunt Bernie. Or was it Phyl? No, no. That’s right, it was your Uncle Bob’s cousin, Linda. The one with the limp.

Hey, did you ever get that finger looked at when you went to the doctor’s last time? Because I got this stuff down at the drugstore that works wonders on… What? Oh, right.


Bob’s cousin Linda, you’re going to love this, falls into…Oh, jeepers Christmas, now I’m late for bingo. Listen, just stay here and I’ll tell the story when I get back. There’s shortbread in the cupboard, and tea in the…hey, can you program a VCR? The clock on there keeps flash…what do you mean “what’s a VCR?” The thing you tape Matlock with. What’s taping? Oh, for cry eye. Listen, I gotta go. I don’t have time to explain what VCRs, VAX clusters, or a 56k modem are. Huh? My pants? why they’re right on my…aw fudge.

As always, thanks for stopping by.


8 thoughts on “Dyers.org Turns 10 (That’s 60 In Web Years!)

  1. Sometimes when I’m talking to people I realize that it’s about something you’ve written. I stop and tell them about my “internet friend”. Then they usually look at me like I’m a weirdo.

    Happy anniversary!

  2. Hey Jon, I first saw you on the Gillette commercial a while back and have always kept your name in 95.6% of the Beard conversations I have on forums or elsewhere. I always admired how interesting your beard styles were, and how superfluous your beard types became. I liked the “tags will beat out content” part of that list, I was trying to get my site up and noticed a possible lack in creativity (sad), but attempted to fix. I made my site a while back and put your page under the “Beard Related Websites” page. The links in my post if you’d like to check it out. An authority like you on beards would be great to hear from.Best of wishes to you and appreciate the decade+ of entertainment you’ve brought the masses.

  3. One of the most relaxing and cool blogs I’ve read in a long time.
    Is there going to be a bearded mountain man update for 2013?

  4. Aw, shoot. I missed you, this has been the best blog I have read in a long time. Thank you for the time you put in and sharing yourself as you have. I actually lol’ed here. 🙂

    (Beards are terribly exciting to me!)

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