Why eddyfate.com?

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Now that I’ve made the jump over to a spiffy new WordPress installation, I have a ton of blog ideas that have been backing up on me. However, the first and most logical one to tackle is: Why eddyfate.com? That question has three different facets, which I’ll answer in turn.

Why A Blog?

I’ve been blogging in some form or fashion for about a decade now (back when I started on opendiary). I like blogging. I’ve been asked before why I like posting my thoughts online. Admittedly, I got asked that a lot more before the rise of Facebook and Twitter, but I still don’t have a really good answer for it. I think a lot of it is that I have a lot of very specialized interests, and blogging allows me to share those interests with an audience that might appreciate them. I’ve developed a solid group of friends and peers that can talk intelligently about those interests, but I never really lost the habit of blogging. Plus, it’s a good excuse to write.

Over time, my blogging has become a little more focused. Originally I would blog about my day, what’s going on in my life, and stuff I thought was cool — more like the original diary or journal concept than anything else. Lately, microblogging takes over more of that — it’s easier to post a status update to Facebook or share a cool link on Twitter than to take the time to fire up my blog. So I write more miniature essays, things I wanted to expound on based on a conversation I’d had, an article I’d read, or (more frequently) someone else’s blog. When I’d noticed that my blogging style had changed, I developed a backlog of things I wanted to blog about (I’ve got over a dozen sitting in my to-do list right now), and I started thinking about a more essay-like blog and site to match.

Yesterday I was on medication and had free time. David was nice enough to whip up a WordPress installation for me in very short order. And here we are.

Why not LiveJournal?

I’ve been blogging over at LiveJournal for a number of years (I’m not sure how many, but it’s more than five). Why not just continue to do it there?

Well, there are a few reasons. For one, LiveJournal is a bit more “community” than “blog host.” While I didn’t mind forking over $20 a year to them in the past, I realized that I’m paying for a lot of services that I don’t use anymore — I can get a lot more functionality for blogging out of my current setup, and for a lot cheaper. The community tools at LJ are, for me, better replicated in places like Facebook and Twitter. Which is a related point — most of the community I interact with have also moved to those places, so there isn’t as much need to stay with LiveJournal just to keep my reader base.

Another point is that a lot of the people whose blogs I read have similar setups, and I’m finding the structure more attractive as a reader. As I read more blogs and respond to more blogs, I find myself writing posts in response, and pointing people to my LiveJournal presents a slight barrier that I don’t like (to wit, some readers have commented that they don’t like having to post anonymously if they don’t have a LiveJournal account, and don’t want to create a LiveJournal account just to post).

But really, I just thought it was time for a change. I’ve always liked the idea of a personal website, but I hadn’t previously found a lot of reason or need for one. I have now, so I’ve done it. I still find value in keeping my LiveJournal active, and plan to pump both of my blogs into it (this one and the one at whitechapelproject.com), but in general it’s time for a new setup.

Why the name?

It all goes back to wrestling.

Waaaaay back in the mists of time (1998), my friend Ric Connely introduced me to the fWo, a fantasy wrestling federation. We had played together in a previous one, and he wanted me to come in as his character’s half-brother. He was playing Ric Chronos, and his character was based around time gimmicks, so I followed suit and made a character with a similar name — Eddy Fate. I had a lot of fun with him, and I’ve used him in a few other fantasy federations since then. Over time, I found that eddyfate was a great username/Internet handle — it was distinctive, short, and almost never taken on websites — so I started using it until I found a better one.

That was twelve years ago.

When I started writing professionally, there still wasn’t a huge connection between a writer’s work and his online persona. Besides, I wasn’t exactly famous, or even “Internet famous” — no one had even heard of me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that people who weren’t my friends already cared about my writing career. By this point, I had already established an online identity as Eddy Fate — people looking for me online can usually find me under that name, and going through dozens of websites to switch to something like eddywebb seemed an onerous task.

Still, about a year or so ago, I seriously looked into it. I made the decision to snatch up the name “eddywebb” on as many sites as I could, and convert over to build a new online identity. And just about every time, “eddywebb” or “eddy-webb” or “eddy_webb” was taken. A number of the eddywebb domain names have been bought up to point to eddywebb.co.uk as well. And yet eddyfate was always available, always sitting there, waiting.

So I’ve decided to own it. It’s my unique chunk of the Internet. Sure, I still get the occasional fan who thinks that “Eddy Fate” is my real name, no matter how many times I put it in my signature file or plant little reminders everywhere. But the one thing I haven’t run into is someone thinking I’m someone else.

Appendix: What’s Under the Hood

Daniel suggested that I post what setup of WordPress I’m using, for the other WP nerds out there. So here you go, my specs as of today:

  • WordPress version 2.9.2
  • Akismet (spam filter)
  • All in One SEO Pack (SEO optimization)
  • FD Feedburner Plugin (tying my feeds into FeedBurner)
  • Fluency Admin (changing the look of my admin area)
  • Greg’s Threaded Comment Numbering (not sure if it’s working or not, but comments seem to be threaded)
  • LiveJournal Crossposter Remix (plugging things into my LJ automatically)
  • Status Updater (automatically posting links to Twitter and Facebook)
  • Subscribe to Comments (let readers get email notifications of comment replies)
  • Twitter Tools (posting my Twitter feed on the site, along with a ton of other tools that I’m not using right now)

If other WordPress users know of plugins that might be useful, or if something’s not working the way it should, let me know!

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