Adorable Mascots

My daughter challenged me to write a blog post every day using a topic she chooses.

As you may know, I recently started a new job at Automattic. WordPress is woven through everything we do. So, among the many things that come with the perks of working at a large, established company, are getting swag (socks, stickers, etc.) with the WordPress mascot, Wapuu on them.

Wapuu has more than a passing resemblance to Pikachu but is always pictured holding something. By default it is a ball with the WordPress logo on it. But it can be quite a few other things as needed. And Wapuu changes their costume as needed as well.

These are from the WP World Messages App for iOS to be used as stickers in Messages chats.

I have Wapuu stickers on my laptop (Wapuu holding a rainbow ball with the WordPress logo on it and another where he is holding a green ball with the Jetpack logo on it and wearing an actual jet pack), Wapuu socks (I think I now own three different varieties), and a plush Wapuu I gave to my daughter (who invented a really cute voice for them.)

Mascots are interesting in that they can help build a community. In the case of Wapuu, it is the many WordCamps held around the world that have benefitted from Wapuu. Each one designs (or has designed) their own Wapuu for the occasion and people collect them.

In the case of Wapuu, it is the many WordCamps held around the world that have benefitted from Wapuu. Each one designs (or has designed) their own Wapuu for the occasion and people collect them.

This got me thinking about other mascots and their impact and why we love cuteness so much. In some cases, especially surrounding sports franchises, the mascots are mainly there for the children. But then you look at something like Pokemon, which is nothing but mascots and that was started for children but is beloved by people of all ages (I already know that I will be getting a Switch to play the new game when it comes out this fall.)

We just love cuteness. And collectible cuteness is even better. I lament that I am so late to Wapuu’s world. Think of all the pins and stickers I missed out on over the last 8 years since Wapuu’s official debut. Then again, I only have so much room on my bag for pins or laptop back for stickers.

As to why we love cuteness, who knows? I am sure more than a few dissertations have been written on this subject. If I had to guess without doing any research of any kind (I know, how American of me) I would say it probably has to do with a parenting instinct. We are programmed to react positively to cute things. But so what? Whether I am right or way off, it doesn’t matter. Wapuu and other adorable mascots are fantastic and I love them.

(I can get a limited number of Wapuu pins. If any of my local friends wants to swap for a pin, sticker, or other tchotchke from their place of work, let me know! So far, I have a BBEdit pin and one for AS220…)

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Who is the first Blogger?

I see a lot of claims out there by people who claim to be the first blogger because they began doing it in 1997 or something like that. Well, I do not know if I am the first one ever, but I am certainly one of the first ones. In November 1994, I sat in Central Park and saw something funny. I went upstairs to my sister’s office in the Hotel des Artistes building (home of Café Des Artistes) and updated my website (manually because it was 1994) to include a new page about observations and wrote about it. And it’s still on the web today! In fact, almost everything I wrote about from 1994 to 2002 is available in an archive of my website as it was before I finally changed it all up and built a brand new one.

This site is a continuation of that second-gen site that I made in 2002. At that time, I believe I switched to Dave Winer’s Radio Userland tool and used that for some years. Then I experimented with Movable Type and a number of other tools. Then in Steptember, 2008, just over 10 years ago, I switched to WordPress and that’s been the engine behind my site ever since. (And considering I now work for the WordPress people, I highly doubt I will be changing my site out for something else any time soon!)

And blogging as a term did not come into usage until 1997 or so. So I don’t know what you call what I did for those first three years. Public journaling? Who knows? And, like I said, I do not claim to be the first, but I was certainly among the first ones. How many others have blog-style posts that are still online from November 1994 or before? Maybe one day I will try to find out.