Two Tips for New Bloggers

A couple of weeks ago Wired wrote about the 10th anniversary of “weblog. I’d be remiss to not mention that yesterday, December 31st 2007, was the eighth anniversary of, in its many incarnations, this weblog. My Blogger profile, where it all started, says December 1999. That’s a long time. 80% of the life of “weblog”.

I still have those first few posts archived somewhere, on some long buried CD, but everything else after February 2000 is out there if you know where to look (though I suggest otherwise as it is all a little embarrassing). I, of course, do have easy access to all that data and looking through it, as I did recently, is a nostalgic experience. All those posts act as a mental time capsule preserving the I of the year 2000. That first year is full of freshman whines, before the eventual drop-out; all sorts of links to sites and content that is now long gone; small signs and portents of a budding interest in the development/design side of the web; very little to do with my current primary obsession, gaming, since that was before the future job, money and Playstation 2 rekindled it in me (sadly, it meant that I missed most of the Dreamcast era until after the fact); and an over abundance of commas and a severe lack of capital letters. Most shocking of all, however, are the hints of a personality that hasn’t changed much at all in eight years’ time[1].

Wired also has the additional list of Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers From Original Blogger Jorn Barger. They’re all well and good though they do tend to assume the classic definition of “weblog.” In the ten years since it was coined that word has evolved from that initial “list of links” meaning to something encompassing links and journals and editorials and essays and fiction and everything else following the “newest entry first” format. They’re good tips for maintaining that del.icio.us feed but most of them don’t apply for more writer-ish endeavours. For those, new tips are needed.

In my eight years of maintaining a weblog I’ve come to realize enough to be able to provide my own weblog tips for new Bloggers:

  1. Do it for yourself. Do it to improve your writing or to learn HTML or to document things you like or anything as long as you do it for yourself.
  2. Don’t care about anything but #1. If you do it for yourself, links and feedback and hits and ad revenue, though nice and welcome, aren’t going to change why you do it.

That’s it. That’s the secret to longevity. Here’s to another eight years[2].

And yes, I’ve made the first design change in years to commemorate the anniversary (I actually started it in October but have been too slack!) so some things might be wonky and/or subject to change.

  1. The personality might be the same but tastes are vastly different.
  2. I’ll be in my mid-thirties. THAT is scary.
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