Ana, this is a wonderful post. It covers a journey, with invaluable takeaways; thank you for writing it. This response is just replies to bits and pieces from it.
I recently went through archived versions of my site. The contents, and the generic ideas followed the path of:
- in 2004: stuff I found on the internet, things I'm interested in, guestbook, microblog(!), links, etc.
- in 2007: streamlined content, basic ventures into literature, photos; a lot of former random content already gone
- in 2010: photo- and sysadmin portfolio with curated images and tech-only blog entries
- in 2015: insane amount of content raked together from social media, and other silos, like last.fm, along with the anything since the 2010 version
- in 2017: the great purge and finally some clarify of what I want to be on my site and what to be in private archives
- in 2020: a sudden urge (due to https://wiby.me ) to dig up content I potentially "lost" by simly forgetting about them
Therefore I believe the wave you went through is not at all unusual, and many of us made similar mistakes by trying to take too much away from our sites.
You’re more than your job title! You’re a whole person!
Please make this big, bold, and allow it to stand out - that is a very important sentence :) Especially considering:
So, unconsciously, I started to ignore my interests in order to fit in with the rest.
Years ago I read an article on how Instagram is reducing us to a single aspect of ourselves, because an account is only successful if it's streamlined to a single aesthetics. It's sickening how many people started living like this, believing sentences like these. We're not simple creatures, we should never, ever, focus on a single aspect of possibilities.
“Share what you learn. And the best time to share is while you’re learning it. (You’ll have a voice in your head saying ‘Everyone knows this already’... Ignore that voice.)”
This is probably the reason why I never had the issues with my tech entries: I always thought about them as my personal notes, and how-tos, so it didn't matter if it was done before or not, or if it was perfect or not - it's how I did it. Most of them were results of hours, days, weeks of works, so regardless of the content, it certainly felt mine.
Treat it like a hobby. If your hobby is cooking, you don't expect to have an audience in your kitchen whenever you're baking right? Treat your blog the same way. Do it for yourself.
I'd go one step further: treat it like your virtual home. Like a homepage.
As I said before: you’re more than your job title. Don’t know what to post? Here are some ideas: Today I learned, travel, cooking, job stuff, thoughts, “retrospectives”, experiences, just photos. EVERYTHING IS VALID.
The Wayback Machine is there to remind me that everything you do on the internet, stays on the internet forever.
If only that was true. I spent countless of hours looking for long lost websites from the ancient Hungarian internet (read: pre 2002), disappeared photo albums of summer rock festivals, forsaken blogs. No, the internet forgets. Everything decays. I lost the first 2 iterations of my website completely - '99 and 2000 versions -; I can't even find traces of it. A few paragraphs later you mention:
There were a few more tweets from other people that were very important to me but because they were posted around 2013 -2015 I just couldn’t find them anymore.
So the problem is real.
I remember loving Dynamic Drive
There was also https://www.hotscripts.com/.
“I miss the useless web. I miss your grandpa’s blog. I miss weird web art projects that trolled me. I miss fan pages for things like hippos. I wish I didn’t feel like the web was collapsing into just a few sites plus a thousand resumes.” Sarah Drasner, https://twitter.com/sarah_edo/status/1013427276350873600
I recently discovered https://wiby.me. Whoever made it brought the web 1.0 back into my life. Just start pressing "surprise me...", it'll land you on a forsaken site left behind by the first settlers of the internet.