Why I'm More Excited than Ever About Blogging

tokyo stationThis post might also be called, "My History on the Internets."

I intend for most of my posts here to be about helping others and sourcing and sharing information in the fields of government leadership and economic sustainability. But allow me to indulge for a few minutes in a post that will add to the background on my "who is" page.

And first, let me ask you a couple questions: What is your history of using the Web? Has its evolution helped you in terms of enjoyment, business or in other ways? I want to know if you're having as much fun as I am.

My first exposure to much Web use was really AOL chat rooms in the last half of the Nineties, then, in the early Oughts, I did some thinking about the nature of the Web for rhetoric papers in my studies at UC Berkeley. I also was an early user of online banking and a reader of newspaper Web sites. Sometime around 2003, by good friend and often-colleague Brandon Sprague told me about blogs and Blogger. Within a short time, I'd grabbed a domain in my name and put together a rudimentary page.

Millions of people were already blogging, of course, but I found the concept of low-tech content production on blogs revolutionary (I'd been working in newspapers since 1999, but started at a small outfit where for the first several months of my job we were still pasting up pages.) In 2003, I was at the San Francisco Examiner doing a political column, and I started adding bits and pieces that I couldn't fit into my Blogger page around December of that year.

That's how it went for a couple years, as I used the blog as a place for notebook dump and to pass on press releases and information that didn't make the column or wasn't suited to a mass audience. I also was able to break news that I knew the TV or Web sources were going to pick up before I got to print. San Francisco politics are rough, and at times I got some pretty nasty anonymous comments. However, most of the feedback was positive. My daily readership was about 400 core political insiders and junkies, but I never knew quite who they were.

In March 2005, I joined the San Francisco City Attorney's Office as a civil investigator. That meant an end to my political blogging, but it also allowed me to be politically active - a big no-no for traditional journalists. That summer, I started a year-long campaign - mostly fueled by blog posts and relationships with a few friends and neighbors - to steer the development of the new Walnut Creek library. It was hugely successful, but was less than democratic as I fueled almost all the content.

In December 2003, I began another blog, this time focused on sustainability and inspired by Jared Diamond's "Collapse." The Enviroinvestors blog started with the tagline, "To the pursuit of a sustainable economy, healthy companies and a better world," but never picked up much readership and soon devolved into an amatuer stocks blog. The last core post was in August 2007.

Summer of 2007, based on an article in Business 2.0 about Google AdSense arbitrage, I started a photo blog based on my frequent travels to Japan. I didn't really know how to build readership and my camera wasn't very good, so it never went anywhere. I turned it into a business site for my wife, but that also was unsucessful as by this time sites simply weren't getting any traffic without a solid plan - which pay-per-click and text ads links alone are n0t.

And now to my key point. I am more excited about blogging than ever before.

This winter, after immersing myself in Web 2.0 for a couple months, I brought my blog back. It's now on WordPress instead of Blogger, and the most of the content from the history above is archived here. Today, I know why I am doing this, and I am doing it for me (and, hopefully, for you).

This blog is not about building my business, it's not about making money on ads, it's about my passions and my friends. It's about those of you reading and commenting as much as it is about me. It's about 2.0, and it's a learning process. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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  • published this page in Blog 2009-01-12 00:12:58 -0500

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