This Blog Turns 1 Year Old

I can distinctly remember the day last June, 2004 when I was about to email Brad Feld, but before doing so I decided to Google him to see what was happening in his life since the last time we had talked. For the next couple hours after dinner, I read his brand-newblog and ones he linked to. Up until that point, I hadn’t thought much of blogs (there was still comparatively little press coverage of it). But that night in June it all clicked. “No shit,” I thought; easy publishing vehicle, transparency for the authors, super-cool technology that was improving every day. I put off my email to B. Feld and instead spent the week’s evenings learning all I could about the space. First, I downloaded NetNewsWire as my RSS reader. Then I fiddled around with TypePad and other similar services.

A few days later, I realized that blogging was perfect for me. I love writing; I find myself interesting enough to talk aloud and analyze my own ideas and musings; I found the technology cool; The one-to-many nature of the medium could allow me to connect with lots of people with one post.

I wanted to blog. I came across 3 consistent breakdowns in my early research when people started blogs: 1) They announced it to the world and then later added a FeedBurner feed, changed the design, etc. All annoyances to readers. 2) They abandoned it after a few weeks. 3) At first they only had a few posts, not enough to allow potential subscribers to decide whether to subscribe. To respond to these three downfalls, I decided to: 1) Post privately on my blog for a week so I could fiddle with design, set up my feed, and figure out how it works before announcing. 2) Make it a “beta” blog at first to give me an non embarrassing “out” if I wanted to stop. 3) Write at least 10-20 posts before spreading the word so people could see what I’m about.

I was finally ready to go, I told Mr. Feld, and he did a kind post which drove some early traffic. Then I started regularly reading other blogs and leaving comments to make people aware. At first my RSS numbers were in the 20-30 level. A year later there have been lots of trackbacks and mentions bumping my RSS subscriptions to the 200-300 level with a few hundred weekly web-visitors as well. Over the past year I’ve done 242 posts with about 240 reader comments. I’m really happy with these numbers; much higher and it would be an “obligation” (don’t you hate when people post “sorry for not posting” – like you need to apologize for having a life).

Now that I’ve become totally long winded about this non-event, I will conclude by saying that my blog has become tightly intertwined with my identity. It is an extension of my thoughts, opinions, and ideas and I am truly humbled that people besides me would find those musings interesting. I don’t know a lot of you out there who have been reading me, and that’s perfectly fine. You, the mysterious you who lurks and reads and occasionally leaves the anonymous comment, you know me perhaps better than people I interact with everyday in person. This is at once a weird but exhilarating phenomenon.

A lot will be happening in my life over the next 12 months; I would be honored to have you aboard so you can challenge me, support me, offer feedback, or merely smile to yourself in pity, amusement, excitement, disgust, or sadness. Cheers!

4 Responses to This Blog Turns 1 Year Old

  1. Brad Feld says:

    Ben – I’m on board! Congrats on making ita year.

  2. Hey- I really liked what you said here. I wish there had been blogs when I was in high school/college. I relate to many of your interests–love to write, like to express myself, and love technology. So now I have a family blog for my relatives and friends to keep abreast of our little girl, and I’m also doing a ‘beta’ personal blog, but not getting too far with that yet.

    Sounds like you’re on the right track to some great things, keep it up!

    Tony

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