Tin man

10 years of making spelling mistakes on the world wide web


Today is the 10 year (tin) anniversary of my first ‘proper’ blogpost. I had actually been playing around for a year or so using Typepad but on the 27th August 2007 I wrote my first post on the new WordPress blog network I had launched for Jisc and basically I haven’t stopped blogging since.

655 posts on digitalbydefault.com (formerly known as backpass.org — an ill conceived football themed domain!) and a further 265 (well 266 including this one) on Medium.

I’ve written before that blogging has always been my true love when it comes to internet-enabled fun and that there is a case to make that I only work to have something to blog about! I would have given almost anything to be a professional writer — it was always my dream but at least blogging gave me an opportunity to write regularly for all my flaws.

This was my first post → Everything is (not quite) miscellaneous — a review of the (then) new book by David Weinberger. A safe enough subject to start off proceedings 🙂

Within a couple of months though my now well understood model of extreme professional openness and thinking out loud was already emerging as I struggled with my first real encounter with a pre-GDS civil service approach to digital → Brave New World? Not really… — this wasn’t a particularly happy time for me professionally as I remember. Coming off the back of a couple of really productive years I fell into a bit of a slump and became overwhelmed with frustration. It wasn’t long until I quit my job with no real plan and left ‘public service’ for the first time really.

Anyway this was towards the end of the real Golden Age of blogging I suppose — there were lots of people writing about open education, open source, new approaches to government online and all the things I cared about. Though not so many you couldn’t keep track of them and in many cases build relationships via blog comments and the occasional meetup. I still have many friends from this period — including Laura who I was out with yesterday evening and who went on to be my boss at ONS. The power of ‘trackbacks’ should not be underestimated — nor the combination of RSS and Google Reader (RIP!).

Though it is not without some issues the rise of Medium (and off the back of it a number of other not dissimilar platforms) in the last couple of years seems to have sparked a bit of a renaissance of ‘blogging’ again. This is particular true in my little corner of the ‘internet of public service’ where the early days of GDS openness inspired all manner of individuals and organisations to open their hearts to blogging.

Which is a long winded way to say how exciting it is to see the continuing growth of the public service inclined #weeknotes format — new people seem to be joining in every couple of weeks at the moment and we had our first little meet-up this week which was lovely. It feels very old school by its very nature, a throw back to those earlier days of blogging (I joked we should go all in and just start a webring) and all the better for it. I’ve set up a new Twitter account for the #weeknotes -ers → @webofweeknotes and have a new Medium publication in place to aggregate all the (Medium) posts in one place (as soon as the domain mapping gets resolved this will be weeknot.es).

Here is to another 10 years!