This week we’ll be talking to Will Hoffacker, teen blogger and writer. Somehow or another I found Will’s blog, Youngest of One, and soon became a regular reader. Will lives in Queens and attends Regis High School in Manhattan. He has a busy schedule, yet, he still finds time to blog. Which means he still finds time to write.
As Will tells it, he’s held two consecutive weblogs, both entitled "Youngest of One." He realizes the fact that the entries have nothing to do with that title, but he uses that name anyway. With the help of his tech-savvy father, he also maintains a moblog and online store. In the second grade, he promised to dedicate his first book to his English teacher.
Let’s talk about the beginnings of your blog. How did it come about? How did you come up with the name Youngest of One? How long have you been blogging and what were your intentions when you first started? Have your goals or intentions with the blog changed over time?
I was once watching a technology-oriented show starring Leo Laporte called Call for Help on a cable network called TechTV. Their guest on the show was one of the editors of The Weblog Review. That segment really introduced me to the weblog concept, and then my tech-savvy father introduced me to how darn easy it is to create and manage one. I’ve always enjoyed writing immensely, but first I knew I’d need to come up with a name. I wanted something that would catch the eye, but still play on some apparent trait of mine. I went with the whole not-having-siblings thing. Looking back, I probably could have come up with a better title if I had dwelled on it more, but I’m happy with the one I’ve got. The blog I first created, however, is not the one that I write today. On September 29, 2003 I started the original Youngest of One, via Blogger. Over three months and one hundred posts later, I switched to TypePad, where I started YOO 2.0, the very blog readers see today. At first my intentions were simply to write every day and document some of my day’s events. Nowadays I have a few readers to think about, so I guess you could say my intentions now include not offending anyone. Since I began Youngest of One, someone has in fact reviewed it via The Weblog Review, the site that obviously helped me get started. It wasn’t an especially positive review. Hmmm, I’m not sure I remember the score exactly. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I remember! It was a 2.5 out of 5. Since then, however, said reviewer has commented on my weblog in order to express her sentiments of “no hard feelings,” and even told me I had potential. I appreciated it very much.
Do many of your friends blog? How do you see blogs being used by teens? Has it evolved since you first started yours?
Only one of my friends has ever had a weblog—a girl in my class who used Xanga. Unfortunately her posts were somewhat infrequent and she didn’t keep it up for very long. She and I had entirely different blogs. Hers was the kind that had some sort of picture as the template and played Good Charlotte when you went to it. Mine is the kind that’s less about how it looks and more about conveying messages. She was the kind of blogger who uses internet lingo and abbreviations, such as “u” instead of “you” or “r” instead of “are.” There’s nothing wrong with using that sort of writing, but I’m a bit more traditional. My cousin of the same age also held a weblog for a short time. It concerned one of his all-time passions—horse racing. He wrote truly extensive posts, but unfortunately he didn’t continue with it either. Personally, from the time I started until nowadays, I feel that most teen blogs concern personal relationships. They seem to be centrally focused on relationships with their friends, parents, teachers, etc. Some bloggers can do wonders with this sort of writing, and I fully encourage them to do so. I’ve found that some of my best material has been about the antics of my grade school buddy, Cheeseburger (who, by the way, is a great guy once you get to know him well enough).
Remember, this is a blog and you can easily engage Will through the comment section at the end of every post. Tomorrow we’ll learn how blogging has impacted Will’s writing.