As of this week, I have been writing in this blog for 7 years. In that time, I’ve had 3 different web hosts, 3 different blog softwares, and 2 different domains. Plus, in my offline life, bought a house, gotten 2 cats, lost one cat, and changed jobs.
I had an opportunity recently to think about the results of my blogging. I set up a blog at work to post about community-type stuff that employees are doing, the credit union is sponsoring, etc. (At some point there’ll be commenting & voting & such, when I get some other projects launched.) I posted not too long ago something looking for volunteers for a local event; when somebody asked me to take it down afterward, I asked whether it had helped at all. Turns out they got 8 volunteers purely through the website. How cool is that?
So I’ve been thinking about the fruits of blogging, in a way more (selfish? materialistic?) way than I normally would. Normally, blogging is for me just another mode of writing, and writing is just what I do. I’ve kept a journal since I was 9 years old, after all. I still have a paper journal (yay, tiny notebooks!) and I have a daily “what worked today” journal on my (windows mobile) phone. My response to the vagaries of life is to write about them, one way or another.
But blogging, and reading blogs, has had a different sort of consequences. It’s a public thing; I’ve written before about what that means in terms of personal disclosure, so I’m not going to go into that now.
What I have gotten is an entire personal & professional life that I would not have ever expected. I have real, honest-to-god friends. Plus I reconnected with two friends who I thought I’d never see again. (Both of those have looooong crazy stories attached; I’ve known K since 6th grade (how the hell is that now 20+ years ago?!) and H since 1994.) And all this has made for a supportive environment through some crazy times, when my offline environment was not as friend-rich as I would like. (Or, yeah, something like that.)
I’ve gone to conferences, and maybe more importantly, been able to learn & connect without having to go to conferences. 7 years ago, my main source of professional education was A List Apart. Now, you can’t throw a (virtual) rock without hitting a smart creative insightful web design/development blog. Mind you, I haven’t blogged much about my work, not even the technical bits, but I’ve read and commented.
Something that continues to amaze me: I’ve been a tech reviewer on 3 books now for O’Reilly (O’Reilly!) because of blogging. (Hi, Shelley, and thank you again!) Which has been fun and educational in all sorts of ways. The part of me that is a dreadfully shy 16-year-old poet is boggled.
Most of the time, I’m disappointed by living in “the future.” As much as anything, by the cars. Cars in the future are supposed to be sleek little raindrops. Or jetpacks. Instead…SUVs offend me aesthetically because they aren’t how I imagined cars of the future.
But the intarwebs, and blogging: this is the future I want to belong to, full of interesting people communicating almost instantly from all over the world about interesting stuff.
As they say, here’s to another 7 years. (2015?! WTF?)