"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
October 19, 2009

Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, I wrote a tentative post, inaugurating this blog. I had tried my hand at blogging a few times before, but this was the first time I had really committed myself to the platform. Five years later I’m still going, perhaps not strongly, but steadily. When I (re)started blogging in 2004 my […]

Five years ago today, I wrote a tentative post, inaugurating this blog. I had tried my hand at blogging a few times before, but this was the first time I had really committed myself to the platform. Five years later I’m still going, perhaps not strongly, but steadily.

When I (re)started blogging in 2004 my life was a mess. I was in a strange country, struggling with a career change and generally feeling as though everything I did kind of sucked, in a deep and fundamental way. My hope was that blogging would, somehow, help me improve as a writer and establish some kind of foothold back in the publishing world, as an author, or contributor, or something. I mean, other people get published through blogs? Didn’t they?

Five years on, I’m in a different, but equally strange country, my new career isn’t quite setting the world on fire and I’m still prone to periodic bouts of acute self-doubt. Blogging not only didn’t bring me fame or fortune, it didn’t even bring me mediocrity and ridicule. It certainly didn’t help me get anything published.

All of which kind of begs the question? Why bother?

Partly it comes down to self-publishing. Having been in situations where I’ve felt pressured, censured, even abused for expressing what seemed to be reasonable and considered opinions, I find the ability to have an island on the internet that bears my name and exhibits my thoughts, music and images to be important and healthy. It’s part of why I created my first personal web pages back in 1995 and why I don’t think I’ll ever abandon having some kind of blog, or online presence.

But, being a “blogger” still causes some glitches in real world conversations. Moreover, it sometimes makes me uncomfortable, even in the quiet solitude of my own studio. There has been an explosion of communication and opinion online and I really do wonder what it has done for us, socially and culturally. Maybe that’s why, when thinking about this post, I kept coming back to this clip from the TV show Californication, where the novelist Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny), reflects on his social status as a blogger (strong language warning).

In 2004 Twitter did not exist and Facebook was in its infancy, while blogging was on the rise. There was a lot of hopeful stuff being written about this digital media “revolution” – a lot of buzz around every artist, every business and pretty much everybody having their own blog. Now blogging is, in many ways, a poorer second-cousin to the more fashionable forms of social media. No-one says “you have to start a blog,” anymore. Rather, it’s all about having a Facebook page over joining the Twitter conversation.

Over the next week, I’m going to reflect a little on these five years of blogging; what worked, what didn’t and what could have been done better. I’ll outline what I will continue to do with this blog and what I’ll probably drop from future content. I’ll be clarifying why I don’t have time for Facebook or Forums and why I’ve embraced Twitter. Finally, I’ll look at how the desk, in Fernando’s Desk, has come to meaning something totally different to me today than what it meant in 2004.

I hope you enjoy this week, it should be very “interesting.”

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