Back in a Bit


Exactly a decade ago, I began to write a weblog. It began as a diary of sorts, and its spectacularly low readership reflected its lack of appeal to anyone outside of myself. But I never aspired to be a writer, a journalist, or indeed anything other than what I was at the time — a web application developer. In fact the writing of a weblog was little more than a byproduct of working to develop a content management system.

Unlike some others, I can’t claim to have prduced ten years’ worth of weblog entries. But nonetheless a decade has passed since I began and, in that time, I’ve been exposed to some wonderful people, ideas and technologies I would otherwise have surely missed.

At the time some of us thought weblogs were perhaps something a little special. Tom Coates’ thinking of the day articulated this admirably. But while I anticipated the emerging amateurised culture would grow and grow, I still managed to underestimate it. Early on, I dismissed “social software” as management bullshit and, although the first few attempts seemed to flop, there’s no denying the impact of the current generation of such offerings; most notably Facebook and Twitter. I also underestimated the part that weblogs would come to play — I never thought that they’d grow to become so ubiquitous that they’re no longer special, but normal.

Indeed, the Prime Minister resigned this afternoon, and I learned about it not from the mainstream media, but from a weblog entry by someone I’ve met in real life. It’s as if mass amateurisation, backed by large social networks, is breeding mass personalisation.

Weblogs have evolved into a glorious conversation, and I am left to wonder what point it will have reached a decade from now.