Introducing Bloggers about Blogging

The blogging renaissance in my little corner of the open web shows no sign of slowing – my blogroll is getting pretty long, Steve’s OPML refreshed my feedreader with new voices and ohh.directory regularly surfaces new blogs to follow. I love it and have been thinking of a way to capture this moment of time a bit.

Yesterday Terence published about the 20th anniversary of his blogging which sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole of my own history and that inspired me to see if people – especially those on my blogroll – would be interested in sharing their own blogging journey.

Now I know blogging about blogging is a bit of a trope but I’m gonna risk it.

So here is the first go at some questions – with me interviewing myself. Anybody else up for it?

When did you first start blogging? Do you remember your first post? Is it still online?

I’d played around with a few things before, including using Blogpost for a website for my Sunday morning football team with match reports, but I consider this post in August 2006 as my first proper blogpost…and I went on to actually make a version of that idea a reality and it still exists – Jisc Involve.

What platform did you start with?

I was on Typepad initially, though not for long. I had a Nokia E61 that had a ‘lifeblog’ feature synched with Typepad (it is also where I did my first ever selfie!).

What do you use now?

This blog has been on WordPress since 2007 – though it was dormant for a couple of years when I cheated on it with Medium. Something I regret but at least I was able to migrate all those Medium posts back here.

I use Ghost for my other projects [01] [02]  – I actually considerably prefer that platform these days but am loath to move again so here I stay!

Do you remember the first blog/blogger you regularly followed?

For individual bloggers it was probably Tara Hunt, Cory Doctorow and/or Kathy Sierra. Kathy was a particular hero (I went to a conference in Miami to hear her speak in 2010) but she was also the first person I followed who was chased off of the internet by bullies and assholes.

What is the biggest benefit you get from the practice of blogging?

Like Giles says – it has become my brain, over time, on the internet. Having almost two decades of thoughts, ideas, links and terrible takes somewhere searchable has been invaluable – especially as age and post-Covid definitely messed with my memory.

It has helped me make friends with people all over the globe, opened doors professionally, made conferences much easier as I can often skip the small talk if people are familiar with this blog and allowed me to scratch the writer itch I’ve always had but never had the talent for to publish anywhere but my own platform!

Do you have a writing routine for your blogging?

Ha – to the horror of some fellow bloggers I really don’t. The only reliable choice I make is I don’t write directly in the WordPress editor – too many losses there over the years. Mainly I write on my Macbook Air rather than my work PC but it can be in anything from Google Docs, Pages, iA Writer, Notion or Notes. Really whatever is open! When I write on trains I use my phone or iPad and then it usually ends up in Notes or Gmail drafts.

I do have some limits. I don’t spend more than an hour on any blogpost and anything over 1000 words is TWO blogposts.

Oh and I try to link as much as possible. No blogger is an island.

Other than that I try to have as little friction between my thoughts and hitting publish (and I suspect that is obvious!)

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking about starting blogging?

Don’t overthink the platform. So many people get obsessed with the perfect software or template and never write anything.

Don’t fear the publish button – dance like nobody is watching and blog like nobody is reading…because usually they aren’t.

Write for yourself – people are often absolutely convinced they have nothing anybody else will find useful/helpful/interesting and you can go mad trying to grasp for that  perfect post for the mythical audience.

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