I used to have a line on my resume that said I'd been blogging "since before it was cool."
I think I changed that line at one point to something about how I had been maintaining a blog for "almost a decade."
More recently, I removed reference to maintaining a blog altogether. I think I might add something back in about it, now that BlogCampaigning is officially ten years old.
And it's been a pretty amazing ten years since Espen Skoland launched a Wordpress site to share his research on the use of blogs in American political campaigns, and asked me to proofread the English on his posts.
I'm not going to go back and try and count how many posts or words I've written here in the past ten years. And I'm not going to try and add up the hours I've sat in coffee shops or late at night at work writing and re-writing posts, tweaking the CSS or trying to get a Wordpress plug-in to work. And I'm definitely not going to try and compare all those hours to the number of Unique Visitors BlogCampaigning has had in the last ten years (or, at least the last 8 years because we somehow lost the data for the first 2 years).
Instead, I'm going to reflect on the connections I've made in those ten years and what I've learned. I've got BlogCampaigning to thank for where I ended up today in my career. It paved the way to introductions, via that early blogging community, with people to get my first few jobs.
Researching and writing posts helped me understand what else was happening in the world of social media and digital communications, and BlogCampaigning became a case study library that I could refer to. I learned a little bit of HTML in school, but most of my technical knowledge of how the internet works comes from moving the original BlogCampaigning onto a self-hosted Wordpress site, customizing the CSS, dealing with (and understanding) domain name registration, updating DNS settings, managing the hosting and all the other fun stuff that comes with maintaining a website.
I thought about trying to create a snappy list like "5 Things I Learned From Blogging" but everything kept coming back to the following thought:
Learn By Doing
As much as I learned about the world of marketing, social media and the internet by writing blog posts, it was by actually working on projects for clients while at CNW Group, Maverick Public Relations and DDB that I really l learned.
I learned about the difference between the theoretical and the practical. I learned that client needs, what users want (and how they behave!) and the idealized campaign didn't all necessarily align. In fact, they rarely, if ever, did.
BlogCampaigning certainly gave me a good starting point, and back in the day it was a great way to connect with people in the industry. But writing articles about the best way to communicate online and how to a "Social Media News Release" (hey, remember those?) should be used wasn't the same as actually executing a campaign.
I'll continue to update BlogCampaigning infrequently. When I do, it will be mostly just be photos from recent trips I've been on (like this awesome hike, or this one) or a recap of something I've worked on. Like this post, they'll be reflections of the past. I'll save my forward-thinking work for clients and projects that will hopefully see the light of internet day at some point.