GIVE ME 5!: A Celebration of 5 years of If You Ask Me…

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Good grief, it’s my 5th year anniversary of writing this blog! Has it really been that long? It certainly has. On the 3rd of July 2012, I created the very website you’re reading this post on, and I welcomed you with a very short post and the image which you can see above the title.

When I started this blog, I wrote the following sentence: ‘Hello people of the earth, my name is Ben Attwood. I will be talking about issues involving my life, sharing my¬†opinion on current affairs and discussing things in general. stick around and get reading’.

It is weird to look back on some of the old posts that I have put out there, and it’s weird to see where this blog started. I was 15 when I started it, and at that time, I was still in school. At that point in life, I had finished my GCSE’s for Year 10, the Olympics were in London, and I had begun writing my poetry. In 2012, I was someone who was set on a career as a Chemist until I really saw how bad I was at the subject. It was my realisation that I was bad at that which led me to find my eventual passion in History, which I took as one of my GCSE options. I just took it because I thought it was fun, but I happened to be good at it, so I changed gears and was focussed on a career in history. In 2012, I was Sports Captain for my house, I was a Senior Prefect, and I won a Blue Peter badge.

Why did I start the blog though? I always wanted a website. That simple. My first ever website was on a website called Piczo, which was very big when I was a child. This was pre-Facebook¬†time, MySpace and Friends Reunited were the big Social media sites, alongside Bebo and Windows Live Messenger. My website on Piczo was called Revolution 101, and as I recall, had lots of GIFs on it, a Matrix live wallpaper, and was my little space on the web, and it was awesome. I started this website so I could have a website again, and I thought I would write a blog, based on my youtube videos. At this time, I tried to become a You Tuber, but I hadn’t the patience or effort to do it. If you Ask me’s concept was the concept I wanted my youtube channel to be, a vlog in the style of VSauce, Vlogbrothers, CGP Grey. People I viewed as smart people who share their opinions on things of major or minor importance, with big audiences.

So I created the blog, and I wanted it to be a place where I shared my opinions on stuff. There was no set theme. I didn’t want to limit myself to be one thing or another. I just wanted a place where I could say what I felt, no matter of what popular opinion was. In 5 years, I now view the blog in a different way. It became a thing where I could look back and see things change. I could see my writing style change. I was a teenager when this blog started, and the blog reflected that. I got older, more cynical, and the blog reflected that too. If you read posts from 2012 and compare them to one of my posts from this year, they are very different, because I am very different from what I was then.

I never thought I would attract an audience. As I said, this was just me wanting to create my own website. It was pure self-indulgence, but I somehow found an audience. One of the first followers I had was The Otaku Judge, who has their own website. They were the first person that followed who wasn’t someone who I knew, and I see they still are reading even now. I returned the favour, and I followed them. I try to read all their posts, even if I don’t necessarily follow anime or manga much (Bar Attack on Titan). I attracted an audience, and my voice became amplified. One of my best posts was my one where I admitted my anxiety disorder to the world. People were so proud of me for admitting that publicly. I wasn’t trying to make a point with that post, or trying to affect change. I wrote that post to admit to myself I needed help, and also it helped that the blog was read by a lot of my friends so I could get the news out to them. Besides that, I tend not to rank my posts, or say ‘this is my best post’ because I feel that self-praise is not real praise. I let my stuff speak for itself.

This blog opened up opportunities too! I received a message from My Trending Stories about blogging for their website as well, and it was an offer I took up. I don’t blog on there now, but I’d like to return, in time. That was after my anxiety post, and for the blog, I wrote my Advancing Through Autism series, which I wrote to help people with autism and give some life lessons. I don’t know if people read it much, but it is there, and I hope people took lessons from it. Then there was The Stand Online, which evolved into a part my URSAY project. This blog and its intentions really led to all those opportunities being open for me, and having 5 years to hone my craft was helpful too.

 

I was 15 in 2012, and in 2017, I have reached and passed my 20th birthday. Where am I now as a person? Well, I am still single, but I have had some interest in me from people, so not all bad. I am in University in a town I love, with people who invoke similar feelings in me. I study topics that I love, I have met people who are fantastic, some less so, some more so. I have fully embraced the Internet as a force to amplify my thoughts. I cured my anxiety that was plaguing me for years, and I am working on losing weight. I still have my family, some we lost over the last 5 years, but none of that love has been lost. Heck, as of 2015, I am not the youngest generation of my family anymore, as my cousin had a baby! I am one of the grown ups now! In short, things change, I changed, but things endured. The blog has become a constant for me over the last 5 years, and I hope if continues to do so for the rest of my life. So I will end this blog with two words in recognition of your support, respect, and some of the lovely stuff you’ve said about me and this blog:

Thank you.

About the author

Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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