Hi. I'm Ken Zinser. I do projects, and this is my blog.

Hello, World!

On my history of publishing on the web

I’m Ken, and this is my personal website.

It’s actually just the latest evolution of how I present myself online. It’s a work in progress, but I’m bursting with ideas — and I’m especially excited about snagging this domain, ken.fyi. In the meantime you can visit kenzinser.com to see where I’m coming from.

I started using WordPress in 2007.

Hello, English 225!
Published August 20, 2007 in Uncategorized

It’s nice to make your acquaintance.
You know, you are something of a pleasant surprise?
A pleasant surprise, indeed…

(What should I do to commemorate the 15-year mark?)

It was my second year of studies at Miami University of Ohio and I signed up for a writing course on creative nonfiction. The instructor was a cross between Greg Proops and Patton Oswald. He was always wearing a blazer, either moleskin or corduroy, with elbow patches. There was a faint-but-fuzzy mole somewhere on his face too.

The course was held in a room full of computers in a nondescript brick building in the middle of the campus.

I credit MySpace for helping me learn to write code. 2005 or 2006, I had a profile. I spent most of my time changing the theme, adding widgets, embedding MP3 players.

What I like about this setup is its simplicity and performance. I’m writing this post in Markdown on iA Writer, a plain text editor. Minimal formatting options, scant settings. The trope is that it helps you focus. (I’m even using Focus Mode, where everything is grayed out except for the sentence you’re writing.)

GitHub Pages effectively solves the performance issues I ran into with my shared web hosting account.

Over time I formed these principles, ideals, for how the web should work. Articles I read, people I followed. You could call me an advocate for open web standards. At the same time, a disconnect formed between the reality of my online situation and those of prominent writers and designers. They had significant readership. When they changed the URL on an article, hundreds or thousands of people suffered.

But that’s not me. And readership alone is not the goal. And I’ve come to terms with that. Any page hits or analytics or comments or reactions to whatever I posted were a distraction at best.

So I’ve embraced the beauty of starting over.