"Thank you, sir! May I have another!?"™, Day 11: RIP, communicatrix the shill

This is Day 11 of a 21-day effort to see the good in what might, at first, look like an irredeemable drag. Its name comes from a classic bit of dialogue uttered by actor Kevin Bacon in a classic film of my generation, Animal House. french teeth

Despite the flashes of solopreneur-esque bravado you witness here from time to time, I'm neither a tooter of my own horn nor an intrepid explorer by disposition.

Don't believe me? This should change your mind: my first foray into the world of web communications and social networking was...Epinions.

Yes, that Epinions. That loser site of bullsh*t reviews and bulls*t high school status-hierarchy of reviewers, Epinions.

I wrote for Epinions early, so early that my participation pre-dated both the dot-com bust and the use of "communicatrix" as my ubiquitous handle. I also wrote long, not often, but long, involved, passionate pieces, much like I do here.

Only there, they were about...waffle irons. Baby wipes. Nose hair trimmers.

I poured my heart and soul into those reviews, and not for the money. I made pennies for my work (although, come to think of it, more than I've made on the blog). I did it because it was a place to write, and a reason for people to come and read my writing, and a community that sprung up around reading and writing about things we thought were noteworthy. Or just...good writing.

Like most things, Epinions evolved. In its case, it devolved into a site that was about dollars and cents and the tyranny of the lumpen middle. Not my people. I left and wandered for a while, homeless and bitter.

It took almost four years to find myself again. Here. With you. Too long, maybe, but here's how I choose to look at it: if Epinions had been even a little bit cooler, if it hadn't all but forced me out, like the Groundlings, like so much of what the rest of this salute has been about, I might still be there now, writing about mascara and coffee makers. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just not the wide, wide range that has stretched and shaped and grown me here.

So thank you, Epinions, for selling out and making your site a place I'd never want to visit, much less write for.

It is because of you I am the writer I am today.

xxx c

Image by Uh...Bob via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.