15 Years of Blogging

Fifteen years ago (on 4 November) I started blogging. This as a result of a discussion with and encouragement from David Gurteen, Lilia Efimova and Seb Paquet. First using Blogger, but quickly self-hosted on my own domain, using Movable Type for a long time before switching to WordPress.
My blogging frequency has been much lower in recent years, than at the start, also because of additional channels that became available, such as Facebook and Twitter in 2006.

The web has changed mightily in those 15 years, as is clearly visible to those who were away for a number of years, such as Hoder in an Iranian jail. It hasn’t changed for the better in my view. By design and definition the internet is distributed, but for most everyday usage it is anything but. It could be, but it would mean many more people taking the tools into their own hands. Until then ease of use has huge silos and you and your data being the product as a consequence.

Every now and then there’s been a call to go ‘back to the blog’, e.g. in discussion with Stephanie Booth and others. Fact is I never stopped blogging, just that over time more and more postings became longer texts, and that meant the frequency of postings diminished as writing time increased. Now that my own unease with what Facebook et al are doing to my information diet has become increasingly unbearable, I started following the example of Peter Rukavina and Elmine to bring back more of the casual sharing of small observations to this site, foregoing the likes of Facebook as primary channel. Peter has left Facebook entirely, I’m not nearly at that point.

When I started blogging it was the source of a tremendous proliferation of new connections, a whole new peer network emerged practically overnight. Distributed conversations became face to face meetings and brought us to places like the Blogtalk and Reboot conferences. Many of the people I regard as a major source of learning, inspiration I met because of this blog. Many over time have become dear friends. That alone is enough to keep blogging.

7 thoughts on “15 Years of Blogging

  1. Lilia

    Glad to share some moments of those 15 years with you, Ton ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m also trying to get back to blogging (works) and off Facebook (doesn’t really, since it has became _the_ communication channel of my homeschooling network). I am always eager to read about your actions to move into more distributed way of being online together, so please write about it. And a couple of questions:
    – How do you manage your timeline category technically? Is there a plugin or a piece of code you use?
    – What is your current mode of keeping up with the others? Since my RSS reading habits broked I couldn’t find a good way to get back to regularly hearing from the broad network of others.

    Reply
    1. Ton Zijlstra Post author

      hi Lilia,
      The timeline is simple just another WordPress category, and the Day to Day link in the menu at the top links to the corresponding category archive page. On the front page I have excluded the Day to Day category, using a plugin called Ultimate Category Excluder (https://wordpress.org/plugins/ultimate-category-excluder/). It can also be done with a simple line of code (e.g. http://www.wpstuffs.com/exclude-posts-category-front-page-genesis/ ), but the plugin allows control over excluding a category from the RSS feed, the search or the archive functions. Also adding just the code to the template means ensuring that it doesn’t get deleted again everytime you update the theme, e.g. by creating a child theme for just that bit of code.

      As to your second question, that one is harder to answer. My RSS reading broke down as well, and I have depended on seeing what articles etc other people in my network post to their FB and Twitter stream. I am slowly trying to rebuild, but if people don’t really post in their own spaces, there isn’t much one can follow. That’s a shame because I’ve never been much into following ‘sources’, and always depended on people posting things, where their own curation and context come into play. I currently don’t have a workable solution. I figured it starts with posting more myself again that can be followed. Next to that, Peter Rukavina and I are attempting to start our own Diaspora pod, so we can invite specific people into that, in an attempt to reduce the social cost of leaving Facebook.

      Reply
      1. Lilia

        Thanks for sharing. I hope that I get to rebuilding blog infrastructure relatively soon – there are quite a few things in mine that need technical attention. So far I’m also happy to get back to writing without having instant gratification of FB. Need to practice that more ๐Ÿ™‚

        I’d be interested to try Diaspora once you have something up and running, and also hearing about your experiences behind the scenes. Would be also interesting to see if it’s a solution for our homeschooling needs – with distributed networks and kids getting bigger I’d love to have some protected networking space for them to share their experiences online.

        Reply
  2. Wilfred Rubens

    I agree with your reflection about the development of internet. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, 15 years. Fifteen years of blogging is more impressive than a huge schnitzel in a Berlin restaurant;-)

    Reply
    1. Ton Zijlstra Post author

      ๐Ÿ˜€ You mean this one, http://www.te-learning.nl/blog/oeb08-wat-anderen-publiceren/ where as you are looking forward to your Schweinshaxe, I’m looking doubtful at my Schnitzel as the potatosalad seems to be missing. Luckily the waitress after asking in the kitchen came back with the crucial information: it was simply underneath the Schnitzel as there was no space on the plate on the side of it …..

      You’ve been blogging about as long haven’t you? 2003?

      Reply

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