May 19th, 2005. A day that will go down in internet lore. Well, maybe not. It was on that day that a very small group of us (6, to be exact) agreed to show off a little part of our bodies, and declared that Half-Nekkid Thursdays had begun. Of course, I figured it would die within a month. Little did I know that friends of friends of friends of friends would take the ball and run with it! And now, here we are. Six years and thousands of participants later.
About 3 months ago, I started to question whether or not HNT had run its course. I fully anticipated that, with this post, I was going to announce that I was pulling the plug on HNT. I even had a phase-out plan in mind. But to be sure I was making the right decision, I emailed a handful of friends who were current HNTers, part-time HNTers, or retired HNTers. I laid out the reasons why it should end, as well as reasons why it shouldn't. I asked for advice.
Well, the responses came back pretty much the way I figured they would. Current and part-time HNTers didn't want to see it go, while the retired ones thought it wasn't a bad idea. In other words, not a great deal of help. But they all, almost to the person, mentioned that HNT wasn't what it used to be. Primarily, it's become very clique-ish, and the sense of community was gone.
And I think that's what's been weighing on my mind. They're absolutely right. I thought so myself, but I wanted validation. And I got it. There's lots of reasons for it. I still blame Facebook and Twitter. People are moving away from blogging for those two platforms. New people come to HNT, and they don't quite know where/how to "fit in". Comments are down universally, and so the friendly community of HNTers has shrunk.
That's another thing about HNT that has suffered--the comments. And not in a comment whore way. People aren't leaving comments anymore. With the exception of a small handful of fortunate HNTers, the rest of us aren't anywhere near the numbers that we were even 6 months ago. And I'm not sure why. Of course, there's many HNTers who will come and "up" themselves each week, but not leave any indication that they've visited anyone else. There used to be a time when it was almost a competition to see who could leave the most comments each week (Vixen almost always would win that!).
Up until this past weekend, I was all ready to close up shop. Then I found out about Mel. Not that it caused an earth-shattering revelation, but I realized how important HNT has become. Not from a sexy picture aspect, but because there IS still a community out here. People crawled out of the woodwork upon reading the news. And lots of thoughts about what we were in the old days, and what we are now, and how things have changed, and how they haven't--all have been swirling in my head.
So I'm taking a different approach tonight. It's a celebration! HNT will continue on. Will it reach its 7th anniversary? Who knows? It shouldn't have reached its first! But I'd like to see things change some, starting with my own surfing behavior. I'm going to be better about my own commenting on other's sites. I'm going to visit sites I haven't been to very often. I want to get that sense of something "special" back. HNT has never been about whose picture is the most risqué, or most professional looking, or even about photography at all. It's been a place for us to gather each week. Some on Wednesday nights. Others on Thursday. But it's a chance to check in on each other, even if it's just a once-a-week thing (check with my siblings--they don't even get that much from me!). And we'll see how it goes.
As with all good celebrations, you have to have cake. Since that's sort of on my permanently-given-up-for-Lent list, I opted for the smaller versions. One is for HNT, one is for a particular HNTer who just celebrated her birthday, and one is for each of you, as you're all a part of this big, wonderful thing! Happy 6th Birthday to all of us!
"For those searching for something more than just the norm. We lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going down hill when we stop taking risks."
-Laird Hamilton (big wave surfer)
This week's Mystery Guest is one of those who's been around since almost the very beginning. It's no wonder that she also has the most MG appearances here. Always ready to help me in a pinch, too! If you're not sure who she is, be sure to stop by Thursday afternoon to find out!
Of course, this is my very good friend--the geeky, pretty, newly-converted surfer girl Shizzle. I couldn't have asked for a better MG for this anniversary celebration!
Oh, the response to "...the Other HNT" this week has been great! A lot of former HNTers have come out of retirement, as it were, to send something in to celebrate the 6th Anniversary of HNT. Lots and lots to look at over there this week! Some tame, some definitely NSFW. Stop by and leave some comment lovin' over there!
Speaking of Melanie's post, her fiancé left a comment today that you'll want to check out too.
I'm treading into new territory in the morning. I have finally decided to replace the LCD screen on my laptop. As documented here on numerous occasions, the thing has been slowly slipping away into a dark and lonely place. To the point that almost half the screen is unviewable. I found a decent deal on a new LCD, and tomorrow I'm taking screwdriver to Powerbook. This can only end in one of two ways. I'm hoping for the good way...
My niece (N2) graduated from Montana State 10 days ago, and promptly jumped on a plane to spend a month in Europe with her boyfriend. He's living in Amsterdam at the moment. They're supposed to be in London tomorrow, then heading to Paris. At some point they have to decide on Rome or Seville, I believe. If any of you run into them, be nice and say hi! (I don't recall doing anything like that when I graduated...)