I was a complete nerd in high school. (I make no claims either way about my current status.) I always tried to fit in with the cool people because I thought it mattered.
One night, I was hanging out with some cool people to work on a group project. We weren’t actually working, of course - we just hung around for a while, then they wanted to go get stoned while driving around. I didn’t drink or smoke, so I just sat in the back seat awkwardly while they smoked, planning my explanation to my mother about why my shirt smelled like pot.
One guy asked me, “Do you party?” (I’d happily name him, but don’t want to incriminate him.)
I had no idea that it wasn’t meant literally. I thought he was asking if I went to parties, which I further assumed to mean big teen drinking parties. I didn’t want to admit that I had never been to one in my life, so I bullshat slightly.
“Not really,” I said, “I’m just not that into it.” Looking back on this, knowing what he really meant, this probably made me sound a lot cooler than I intended.
“You do your own thing, huh? That’s cool, man.”
And that was it. Nobody looked down on me or thought I was a nerd for doing my own thing because I seemed perfectly content doing it.
I wasn’t truly comfortable doing my own thing until years later, but I remembered that night. A stoned guy’s idle conversation became the goal for my life outlook. No other statement or occurrence has been more fundamental in making me stop worrying about what other people think and do, which in turn makes it true.
What am I? I’ve never liked the restrictive classifications imposed by employers:
What if I can program and design a decent interface? What if I can design, specify, and implement good code all by myself?
Ultimately, I hate being pigeonholed. I’m not “just” a programmer. That’s why I don’t work at large companies: I have multiple interests and don’t want to do the same tunnel-vision duty every day.
I have no idea what Marco.org is. It has switched between a discussion forum, an advice forum, a product review site, a satirical news site, a personal blog, and a tumblelog. Every time I’d redesign it, I would attempt to change what was. I used to object to people calling it a blog (since that used to be an insult), but the definition of blogs has become so broad that it doesn’t matter anymore.
Michael from 2blowhards recently described Marco.org:
If you do make a complete website, why be conventional about it? Here’s a guy whose website consists of a classic blog, a Tumblelog, a forum, and an About page. Although it’s his site, friends of his contribute to its contents too. Unusual and fun. […] Why get hung up on such 20th century notions as the individual author, the fixed voice, the core identity, and the stable self?
I don’t want Marco.org to be “just” a blog. I don’t want it to be “just” anything. I’ve written all of the code so it can be whatever I want at the moment, and it can evolve freely when that changes.
I do my own thing, and Marco.org is its own thing. I don’t let people pigeonhole me or my site, nor do I try to do it myself.
Marco.org ignores all conventional “wisdom” about blogging.
I don’t care if Google can’t target ads to my site because the subjects keep changing. I don’t care if N.A.D.D. readers miss the point of a big article because they idly skimmed it. And I don’t care if impatient new visitors can’t tell what the site is “about” by glancing at the header.
Don’t try to shove yourself into a particular bucket when it’s a crappy fit. If you don’t want to be a blog, don’t wedge your identity onto Wordpress. If you can program and design, don’t work as a “Software Engineer II” at a big company. Free yourself from other people’s perceived presets.
Do your own thing. It’s great.