Back when I went to UIUC it was the last days of USENET. (Not to say USENET is dead, but its certainly not the healthiest animal in the zoo.) The university had set up a number of local newsgroups to be used by classes, student organizations, and the like.
Of course, like any good local hiarchy, we had uiuc.general and uiuc.test. uiuc.test was a more or less underground forum for discussion. I hear its degenerated a lot since its haydays and when I started reading/posting it was already on its way down. uiuc.general is pretty much what it implies it was. I did a lot of writing to those newsgroups. Not all of them were pretty, not all of them were well written, a whole bunch of them were just plain stupid, but many of them were not bad. (A search of Google Groups can show you many of those or I’m sure you can ask Tim Skrivin, UIUC’s patron saint/wacko of USENET, for copies. uiuc.* wasn’t supposed to exist in the wild, but it made it out there anyway. )
In any case, I spent a lot of time doing somewhat creative writing. Most of the writing I do these days is either e-mail or more technical writing for work. I feel that I’ve let those skills atrophy. Those skills weren’t great in the first place, but its never to late to get them going again. I’m not sure I’ll ever just sit around and wax poetic like I have in days of yore, mostly due to the lack of time, but I think I’ll be more willing to do it now that I have a place to do so.
The only “problem” with the blog format is that its less inclusive of “the general public” than usenet is. To fully participate in everyone’s thoughts, I need to visited at least 20 sites, instead of those 20 people all posting in one place. Oh well, the world has moved on, and USENET has moved to the west, or something. 🙂