23 Years of Disquiet.com

Remembering blogging before blogs

Even if you don’t have a lot of time, it’s good to take a moment, at least, to note an anniversary. Twenty three years ago today, December 13, I bought the URL for Disquiet.com. It was the winter of 1996. I had recently moved to San Francisco from Sacramento, where for the previous seven years I’d worked at Tower Records on their magazines. Initially that was Pulse!, and then Classical Pulse!, which I co-founded with my friend Bob Levine, and then in 1994, as the World Wide Web (capitalized thusly) was beginning to happen, a weekly email newsletter I founded called, naturally, epulse, which ran more or less weekly for a decade.

I’d moved to Sacramento from Brooklyn in 1989, a little under a year after graduating from college. Moving, years later, to San Francisco was disorienting, and it took a few weeks, maybe even a few months, for me to realize what was disorienting about it: I’d benefited for a long time, at that point, in having a music publication as part of what I might call my identity, my self-identity. Suddenly I didn’t have such a thing, and the only solution I could come up with was to create my own, and that was Disquiet.com.

This all got started about three years before the word “blog” formally entered the vocabulary (2019 marks the word’s 20th anniversary). Initially I was just reposting to Disquiet.com things I published elsewhere, like Pulse!, which I continued to write for right up until Tower went bankrupt. In time, though, I started writing things directly for Disquiet.com. At some point along the way my always insightful friend Jorge Colombo suggested I add dates to my posts (again, this was before blogs normalized and codified such things).

From 1996 until 2007, the whole site was hand-coded by me in HTML, even the index pages and the RSS feed. In 2007 I paid someone (Nathan Swartz) to translate it all into a WordPress site, and then a few years after that someone else (my friend Max La Rivière-Hedrick) did a beautiful revision of the WordPress theme so the site would be as readable on mobile phones as it was on a computer screen.

Each year on December 13, if I have the time, I write a brief summary of my memories of founding Disquiet.com. I don’t re-read previous such summaries while doing this writing; I just write it again from scratch. If it’s cut’n’paste, it isn’t a memory.

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