It was ten years ago today that I started writing TYWKIWDBI. It's deeply ironic that I created the blog in an effort to save myself time (so I wouldn't have to be emailing interesting links to family and friends). I absolutely didn't have any vision at that time of continuing the project for a decade.
There are now over 14,000 posts in the blog, over 50,000 comments, and about 1500 followers. Blogger says TYWKIWDBI has experienced 23,000,000 pageviews.
When I started blogging in 2007, the word "blog" was about 10 years old, so I wasn't a pioneer. Just as my birth was part of the famed baby boom, my blog was part of a blog bloom in that era:
The early 2000s were a period of growth for blogs. In 1999, according to a list compiled by Jesse James Garrett, there were 23 blogs on the internet. By the middle of 2006, there were 50 million blogs according to Technorati.In 2008, when Technorati was still tracking and ranking blogs, they noted that out of 133 million blogs, only 7.4 million had been updated in the previous 4 months. The rest were effectively dead. It has been suggested that most blogs have an audience of one person. By 2011 the number of blogs had mushroomed to an estimated 158,000,000. I don't know whether anyone has bothered to track or estimate the number since then.
My "ten-year tenure" is not particularly a reflection of any great accomplishment - it is simply a matter of not quitting. The main support group for polio survivors has adopted the motto "We're Still Here" to remind the public that even though the disease has fallen out of the headlines, the victims from previous epidemics are still alive. I would echo that in terms of the blog to affirm that "I'm still here."
And I intend to stay a while longer. With some changes.
Back in 2013 Jason Kottke, one of the doyens of blogging, averred in an op-ed piece for Nieman Lab that the traditional blog was dying.
Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.In a companion piece at Kottke, he indicated that he was changing as well:
Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium. In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids...
Over the past 16 years, the blog format has evolved, had social grafted onto it, and mutated into Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and those new species have now taken over. No biggie, that’s how technology and culture work.
Through various blogrolls (remember those?) and RSS readers, I used to keep up with hundreds of blogs every day and over a thousand every week. Now I read just two blogs daily... I check my RSS reader only occasionally, and sometimes not for weeks. I rely mainly on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Hacker News, and Stellar for keeping up with news and information…that’s where most of the people I know do their “blogging”. I still read lots of blog posts, but only when they’re interesting enough to pop up on the collective radar of those I follow…and increasingly those posts are on Medium, Facebook, or Tumblr.
I'm going to be evolving too. TYWKIWDBI has changed gradually over these ten years, with minor tweaks of the format and alterations in the focus of the content. I've particularly enjoyed engaging readers to generate content, especially with my series on stonework of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the surprisingly interesting "Show Us Your Bookcase" series.
At some time in the coming year, after certain details get worked out, I'm going to undertake a new project. I hope to be posting details in the spring or early summer.
I will continue TYWKIWDBI, because as I said on my fifth blogiversary -
I still struggle with motivation to keep blogging because of the seemingly unending distractions of real life. But I do get a great deal of satisfaction from the depth and breadth of knowledge, the sophistication, and the almost always unfailing courtesy of readers who comment on the posts. I learn things, I teach things, and every now and then I get help with my car or my computer for free. Such a deal.
The embedded images are screencaps from a Google Image search of images previously posted on TYWKIWDBI. Oldtimers who want to take a trip down Memory Lane and newbies who are wondering what they have missed may want to do the search and click on some of the results.
To access the images, go to Google Images, type in
and hit return. Warning - following those images to their source posts may keep you busy longer than you intended.
And now it's time for Christmas. Back to the blog next week.