For months, I’ve been anticipating this date and what to write. It is one of the greatest milestones I have ever hit with Yow Yow! and no, I NEVER thought that we would get this far. Did any of you?! Yow Yow! started my freshman year of college, winter break to be exact. Back then we couldn’t afford a domain right off the bat! A part of me just thought it would end when I graduated; instead, we are here. We couldn’t not write a post about this, but we don’t need to throw a party either.
I have so many thoughts and have had many conversations over the week with friends who have seen this from the beginning. The tough part will be tying this up into a pretty bow and getting you to stick with me. Ten years ago I was a freshman completely buzzed on college and excited to be out of my parent’s house for the first time. I was obsessed with pop culture and preferred to talk about that than curriculum like Theology or Econ. Yow Yow! was the place to store my thoughts, but not personal ones. Because college enabled us to have so much free time, I had a LOT of time to write on this blog. When I got my first viral pick-up, I considered skipping classes to spend more time writing. I had my first taste of this and didn’t want to miss other opportunities.
There was so much potential for the blog and I wasn’t jaded yet. I was living on this high of getting my requests answered. That, itself, even startled me. It was also before a time of harassment and weird emails – nicer times.
In the ten years of our existence, we had three phases. The first phase, which I loved, was reaching out to people I found to be interesting and having them on the blog. I wrote up my interviews, had the phone calls and spent hours transcribing them for a post. It was never easy, but it was fun. I was my own boss and had full control of my deadlines. I had a chance to learn from so many different industries and it brought me to amazing individuals – like my idol Suchin Pak!
In the second phase, I found my footing with the blog. The people that came onto the site were, this time, in my life – my classmates and dear friends of mine. Instead of my words, I could share theirs. I gave them full control into writing their own posts. It grew our reach beyond what I imagined, but allowed each of these individuals a safe one-time space that they could use.
The third phase is the one we’re still in. Ten years later, I’m writing about my own experiences. I try to find the balance between being an open book and keeping a space for myself. We flip between the pop culture stuff and what I choose to share about myself. It’s inconsistent, but I think it works! We’ve never had a consistent theme anyways. There’s a saying for this probably – “feeling cute, might delete later.”
The posts I’m writing today are the ones I have spent the most time on in the last 10 years. I admit that I’ve very much missed the boat to become a very successful blogger, influencer that could make a living off of this. That was between 2008-2009 or before. But I made the conscious decision to choose to stay in school and then after that, I chose to have a career. I don’t regret it. This summer, I had a chance to spend a month focusing only on Yow Yow! and while it was one of the most creative times in my life, I know that I wouldn’t have been fulfilled dedicating my life to this at least not currently. It’s okay to have a side hustle that doesn’t bring you money. The blog continues to be a hobby of mine and that alone brings me enough joy.
The other day, Veronica asked why I have continued on for this long. I used to say ‘because I’ve already done it this long so what’s another year or two?’ This time, my answer is different. Ten full years of my life live on Yow Yow! The archives take me back in time to see my interests or the things that I cared about in that moment. It’s a journal of my life moments in all forms and will continue to be that. Over the years, people have asked me why I haven’t considered monetizing. Truth: I have considered it. However, in 2018, I love the way Yow Yow! looks. We are not littered with sponsored posts and my voice is still my own. Not having all those partnerships means I control what I want to write about and when.
The anniversary is still shocking, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t ever faltered. If I didn’t wonder how much more time I’d have without this. I’m growing up. The way I look at Yow Yow! has changed over the last 10 years – understandably so. This summer, I started a new job and for the first time, I didn’t want to share Yow Yow! as my fun fact. I’ve never been ashamed of the blog, but I didn’t want this to be the first thing people knew about me without actually getting to know me. It feels like a little bit of a double life sometimes and it brings me some anxiety.
Yow Yow! brought me amazing opportunities. It allowed me to find my voice when I was too scared to have one. More importantly how to deal with that voice when someone didn’t agree with it and to sit in that discomfort. I don’t have the same energy that I used to and I prioritize things differently. Our traffic is 10% of what it used to be when Yow Yow! was at its peak, but it could be worse. Knowing what I know about the average life span of a blog, I am proud that we’ve gotten here. I’ve matured and hopefully so has my writing. We’ve come so far from very bite-sized pieces. My hope is that future content continues to be something that people will engage with, but that also shows more depth to our stories and mine.