... I started blogging!
Well, in truth it wasn't called "blogging" right then. On Advogato it was called a "diary". The words "weblog", "blog" and "blogging" were still working their way toward becoming the conventions they are today.
Still, it was the start of my journey into what we call "blogging". Oh, I had been writing online for many years before that... after all, I'd first gone online in the mid-1980s. And in fact the reason I was sitting in that office in San Francisco was because of a series of articles on the Linux Gazette site that had brought me to the attention of the Linuxcare founders, who then funded me to help create the Linux Professional Institute (LPI).
But that first post on Advogato was my entry into personal writing on my "own" page and in a form that interacted with others.
15 years later - and THOUSANDS of blog posts across many different sites - and several jobs that came about because of my blogging... it's kind of fun to think back to where it all began.
Look Back At My Blogging Journey
As I look back on that very first entry (still online! (and numbered "0" in typical engineer fashion)) I can notice a few things:
- It was long, as per usual. (As I note at the end - and it's still true today - "no one has ever praised me for my brevity!")
- I was working with the CVS version control system. I haven't touched that in many years and now, of course, use git for version control.
- I had just picked up a paper book about DocBook. I would go on to write and speak about DocBook at many events, and would use DocBook as the source format for all of Linuxcare's documentation in a single-source publishing system. MANY years later in 2011 I would write my "Migrating Apps To IPv6" book for O'Reilly entirely in DocBook.
- The Cluetrain Manifesto was new! :-)
I love that I included this line in the entry:
I decided to join this experiment... let's see if I actually keep up with it.
I would continue to write there... close to 400 more (typically long!) entries until June 2004 when a 5-6 week site outage (Advogato was at that time one man's labor of love, not a dedicated hosting site!) would see me and a number of other folks move over to LiveJournal. I posted only very rarely on Advogato after that, although a few years ago I set it to pull in and cross-post the feed from my Code.DanYork.com blog.
Starting in 2004 dyork.livejournal.com would become my "personal home" on the web (under the domain-name blog.danyork.com) for a few years until 2008-2009 when I switched to my DanYork.com site I still have today.
Meanwhile, in late 2005 I decided to split off my telecom/VoIP writing and also my PR/marketing/social media writing into focused blogs at:
Those two remain the main places I publish my own personal content, although they are not the primary places I write these days.
Years later I would come to regret splitting those two topics as they would come crashing together and the lines would blur... but at the time, working for Mitel Networks, I wanted a separate place to write about telecom and VoIP.
In 2007 when I was "synergized" out of a job at Mitel after their acquisition of Inter-Tel, it was a couple of blog posts that brought me to the attention of Jonathan Taylor and RJ Auburn who brought me into Voxeo where I had a wonderful four years.
It was amusing... I had been trying for most of 3 years to get Mitel to have a corporate blog, but they were at the time reluctant to engage in the more conversational medium. (They have a blog today, of course.) At Voxeo, within 3 weeks I had a corporate blog portal up and over the years that would grow to a peak of having 20 separate blogs for different people, channels, audiences and products.
I also had the most amusing title I've ever had: "Director of Conversations". (Yes, that was on my business card!)
The deep experience in WordPress would serve me well when I left Voxeo in 2011 to join the Internet Society where I was charged with very rapidly getting a web site online to help accelerate the adoption of key Internet technologies. The result was the Deploy360 Programme, a site where I still write quite frequently today.
It was, in fact, my blogging as well as my speaking that had brought me to the attention of the Internet Society.
My blogging over these many years would also lead to:
- MANY different speaking presentations at conferences and events around the world.
- My two latest books (on IPv6 and VoIP security) came about due in part to people finding me due to my writing.
- Countless other opportunities and conversations.
- Learning an insane amount (because to write about topics you need to know them!).
- Getting into podcasting... both audio and video.
- All sorts of new connections and ideas.
- Friendships with some great people.
This last one is important... the Internet is ultimately about people... and it is through the sharing of information on sites like blogs that we get to learn more about our shared humanity.
Today, in 2015, I write across so many different places that I had to build a site to aggregate my feeds just so that *I* could keep track of them all! That is:
My main personal sites continue to be Disruptive Telephony, Disruptive Conversations... and also increasingly CircleID. There are a number of others I list here:
The great part of today is that my regular daytime job is focused around blogging! As I explained back in February my new role at the Internet Society is to look at our content across all our different sites and blogs. As a result I'm writing not only on Deploy360 but also on the main Internet Society blog and other sites we have. (A curious new aspect is that sometimes I am ghost-writing posts for other people, which is something new for me... but that's a good topic for another post...)
Though the role of "content strategist" didn't even remotely exist (at least as a title) fifteen years ago, it's a sign of how far we've come in the distribution of writing / content creation that roles like mine now exist.
A Long Strange Journey
It's fascinating to me to look back and reflect where that action 15 years ago has ultimately taken me... but it also reflects what I've been saying for all these years:
There has never been a better time to tell your own story in your own words through your own channels!
The traditional ways we communicate have been fundamentally disrupted... and the opportunity is there for anyone who can consistently create high quality content that others find helpful.
It's been an amazing 15 years... and I look forward to seeing what happens with what we now often call "content" over the next 15 years!