15 years ago, most likely at his desk at Estates Gazette‘s then Wardour Street offices, a frustrated journalist opened Blogger in his web browser. He came up with a punny name, and started his second ever blog. His first blog, on Livejournal, felt restrictive. It was clearly a semi-closed, inwards-looking place, great for chatting with friends, less good for publishing – something that one of Livejournal’s users was to learn from when he launched his site TheFacebook the following year. To find a wider audience our frustrated property journalist had to venture out onto the open web. So he started typing.
And he never stopped. 15 years later, that same journalist is still writing on that self-same blog.
And, yes, of course that journalist is me, and that blog is One Man & His Blog, which turned 15 a little over an hour ago.
Sure, I’ve changed url (from adam.tinworth.name to onemanandhisblog.com) and platform (twice – from Blogger to Movable Type and then to WordPress). But this blog remains the biggest corpus of work I’ve ever created, and by far the majority of my writing that’s available on the open web is stored here.
Today, I’m not sat in a corporate office, but in a small artisan coffee shop near Elephant & Castle, on my way to an afternoon of lecturing and workshops with students. It’s faintly terrifying to think that the majority of the students I’ll be working with today were in primary school when I started this blog, and some of them were in the very early years.
Last blogger standing?
At the point, I suspect that OM&HB is one of the oldest continually published journalism-centric blogs in the world. So many of my compeers have dropped the form, or been sucked into the journalism mainstream, which consumes all their energy for writing. Others have been seduced by the platform publishing game, and are publishing into Facebook or Medium where once they would have been in their own space.
I’m not going to do that. Not only are we right in the midst of learning of the dangers of giving your entire publication over to the platforms, but I also owe this site two major changes in my career. Back in 2006, it was the springboard that allowed me to move into editorial development at RBI, and then, 6 years later, the reputation that I’d accrued through writing here let me become self-employed, and earn a good living for the past six years, while freeing up more time to spend with my daughters.
Who knows where it will lead next?
I’m completely sure that my early-30s self had no idea where that simple act of starting a new blog would take him a decade and a half ago, but it was one of the best decisions in my life. (2003 was a good year for decision-making – I also married my wife that year, too, only a few months after I launched this site.)
So much of what I do I couldn’t image then. This blog pre-dates the iPhone and the iPad – where a substantial chunk of my blogging is done. It pre-dates Facebook and Twitter. Hell, it pre-dates WordPress.
That’s the joy of it, though. The world of publishing has seen unprecedented change in that 15 yers – and the pace shows no signs of letting up. There’s still plenty I want to write about and do. And I want to do it here, on my online home. The word “homepage” has fallen out of vogue on the internet, but that really is what One Man & His Blog is – my homepage on the internet.
Thank you to every one of the people who have visited, and a particular thank you to those of you who continue to race it regularly, be it via e-mail, RSS or Facebook. I value your time, you feedback and even your criticism.
15 years ago, I started with the belief that blogging could be a conversation. Despite everything, in 2018, that can still be true. Blog on!
Lead image by Tomas Anton Escobar on Unsplash