Well it’s that time of year again. I started blogging on July 19, 2002, making this blog six years old today. Coincidentally my visitor numbers will pass 1,400,000 today too. A rather cool coincidence.
Of course the blog didn’t start out in its current form. I started in pure HTML, and later moved on to Dave Winer’s Radio Userland. After losing a month or two of posts I abandoned the unreliable software. Since it was client side rather than server side, it just ran into too many problems. I then made the move to Movable Type, which was not a bad piece of software. I think the version I used for the longest period was 2.661. It ran into some problems too, mostly to do with spam comments.
After evaluating a few options for blogging software, I settled on WordPress, which I still use. It has always proved reliable, and since installing it it has captured over half a million spam comments. Big thanks to Donncha for helping to create this cool software. I think in the early days his blog was on a linux server, bit I still remember reading him back when there were very few bloggers in Ireland.
I would especially like to thank Bernie though. We met via blogging, and ended up discussing a good few subjects over the phone in the early days. He prodded me into using blogging software in the first place, and encouraged me no end over the years. Karlin also passed on some media inquiries in the early days which was very helpful for getting noticed, though I’m not sure if she reads my blog!
Blogging has allowed me to meet some really cool people over the years, and not just in Ireland. In 2003 I moved to London and got in touch with lots of trail blazing bloggers, the lads at Samizdata, Tom Watson MP (blogging got me into the houses of Westminster several times, usually boozing with Tom), my internship at the New Statesman and writing I did for them was with the help of Roger, who I knew via Chris.
After the whole John Gray controversy (Which drove a large portion of that 1.4m visitors to this blog after being mentioned on all of the top US blogs), I holidayed in Toronto and met some of the coolest Canadian bloggers, including Rannie Turingan a several time blog award winner. He also took the portrait photos I still use to this day. A really cool guy.
And then even in Washington in 2005 I met up with Steve Clemons, who’s blog continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Steve introduced me to Juan Cole and at the conference Steve organised I got to see George Soros, Wesley Clarke, Francis Fukuyama, Madeleine Albright and many others, live and in person. A truly amazing experience. But it didn’t end there. Blogging seems to get you certain places, so after the conference myself and some other people from the New America Foundation went back to Steve’s house for beers and music. A brilliant night too, and you could not meet more welcoming people.
Going back to university impacted on my blogging, but over the years it has more than paid for itself in experiences and people. As well as getting a job in the Examiner on foot of my blogging. Anyone who asks why I would write for free, or put all this time and effort into something that I get little direct reward… well just look at the indirect rewards.
Blogging rocks, to say the least.
Update: Thanks to Steve for the shout out!