Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19th, 2005

TMI can be found on the next post down...

It started innocently enough. Just a little suggestion to a very small group of friends. I had only been blogging for a little over 4 months. Surprisingly, I had a loyal group of people who read my blog. Maybe about 6 people. And it was to them that I suggested to get half-nekkid. What I hadn't anticipated was that others might read their blogs and think it was a good idea. Today, four years later, well over 1,000 bloggers have tested the half-nekkid waters. Some tried it once or twice, others have been going strong for the better part of those years. I've read posts and gotten emails in the past from women, primarily, thanking me for starting HNT, and how it's helped their self-esteem, and body image, and confidence, and even their sexuality. I could lie and say that's why I started it, but it's beginnings were far less noble. I was just hoping to get a glimpse of Moose's bare shoulder!

I don't want this to be a self-congratulatory post, because HNT isn't about me. Osbasso and HNT are not interchangeable. They are two separate things. No, HNT is about YOU guys. YOU are the ones that have kept it going. YOU are the ones who have made it as successful as it is. YOU guys are the ones who should be patting yourselves on the back!

HNT has gone through a lot of changes over the years. And those changes have come because of YOU guys. The guidelines are the same now, word for word, as they were when I came up with them four years ago. But it's like open source software--everyone has a chance to make HNT into what they think it should be. And there's no "right" way to do HNT. Many of us have developed a familiar style. Others continue to amaze us in their diversity of photos. And still many others feel a sense of accomplishment each week just to be able to post anything. It's all HNT, and it's all good.

I suppose I should give some sort of opinion of this beast. After all, my Wednesday nights have been shot to hell on my social calendar!
  • I continue to be amazed by the artistry that some of you share with us. We all know who can be counted on for that!
  • I continue to be amazed at the negativity that follow some HNTers.
  • I continue to be amazed at how sheltered my life has been, and how many different lifestyles exist out there!
  • I continue to be amazed at the friendships that have formed, and how strong those bonds truly are.
  • I continue to be amazed at those who, in the midst of personal strife or tragedy, still manage to post something for HNT, or feel they have to apologize for not posting something. It has become that important to them.
  • I continue to be amazed at the number of HNTers who have never seen the guidelines.
  • I continue to be amazed at the number of HNTers I find each week that I've never heard of! Who have comments from the regulars! PLEASE! If you've "found" someone, encourage them to leave an "I'm up!" on mine each Thursday! Not because I'm a comment whore--but so that the rest of us can meet them as well!
Of course, there's the darker opinions I've got, such as towards individuals whom I wish never found HNT, or the rather juvenile comments that some insist on leaving, or those who assume that one's level of half-nekkidness is directly proportionate to the level of crude emails they hope to receive, or those who can't seem to separate the fantasy of HNT from the reality of life. But I suppose there's a lot of that in real life too, isn't there?

HNT has established itself in the blogging world. It can be found in the Urban Dictionary. It's been written about in an Indian business magazine in New Delhi. A Winnipeg newspaper columnist (link no longer works) has written and blogged about it. It's been blogged about by a couple of noted newsblogs. It's been mentioned on Dr. Phil. Really! We even have our own TV station! There's a Flickr HNT group, as well as HNT for people in recovery (lots of confusion in the early days there!). Even MySpace and Facebook have HNT groups (though not "sanctioned"). And for those of you who haven't been around...HNT was even featured in a few cartoons (see below--click 'em to big 'em)!

What does the future hold for HNT? Who knows? It's like a NASA project. Voyager, the Mars Rovers and the Hubble telescope have lasted far longer than ever anticipated. So has HNT. The numbers have held steady, though the undercurrent of participants is constantly changing, with the crusty old-timers holding it all together. I hope that I'll be staying up too late in a year to write a similar tome for the 5th anniversary. Maybe the whole thing will have imploded. Who knows? Just this week we lost two major players. But as I alluded to at the top, HNT is more than just one person. It is all of us. So Happy 4th Anniversary to all of you, young and old! Hope to see all of you around next year!

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