I had no idea, when I went online to make my first blog post just six years ago, how proud I would come to feel about being a blogger. Initially, I didn’t even tell old friends and family my blog address (isaacmao.com). The reason was that I was afraid to come across as sticking my neck out to be very different from the mainstream: traditionally in Chinese culture, it’s better to keep new ventures low-key to avoid losing face if they fail.
That first post, on August 5 2002, was little more than a simple announcement saying “From today, I’m stepping into the blogosphere”. What then happened was impossible to imagine: just like in a fairy story, you planted some seeds and woke up one morning to find they had grown into a forest.
In the case of my initial blogging, I think of it as huozhong, a “seed fire”, which soon attracted other new bloggers. Zheng, a vocational school teacher in a remote city in Fujian province, found my blog while looking around on Google and sent a comment saying he too was interested in this new format where people could set up personal web logs and write about anything that interested them.