Ten years ago today, I posted my first blog entry here at the Cincinnati Blog. This wasn't my first blog, nor was it my first foray into web publishing, but this blog has become part of my identity.
I've been thinking for some time what I would write about on my tenth anniversary. I thought of writing a retrospective of my best blog posts over the years. I even looked back through many of my old posts. I was surprised how harsh I was. I was also surprised how independent I was in the beginning. I would criticize leftist Greg Flannery almost as much as I would mock Conservative Peter Bronson. I looked at some of my posts during the Iraq War. I looked at the varied political races I followed. It was a strange experience. I like looking at history and I found it fascinating to read about the past. I didn't find it worth a blog post. Current events are.....current. My blog posts from the past doesn't hold up unless they can relate to the present. Most of the time they can't.
Instead of looking back on what I wrote, I thought more about myself. Call me an ego-maniac, but for me in my life the timing of this anniversary could not be more poignant. I turned 40 years old this year. This is in part funny to some long time readers, who always called me a kid. I used to chaff at that. Now I welcome any youthful mentions I can get. Blogging throughout my 30's was an amazing experience. It gave me the chance to voice my views to a connected audience. This blog never had an audience on the scale of the Enquirer or any other professional news outlet, but I was proud that it was read by people who were involved. I was able to make an impact on the city. People would sometimes actually read and respond to what I wrote. A few minds were changed. Not many, but a few. For a guy doing this on the side while holding down a full time job, that's not bad.
What kept creeping into my mind most when I was thinking of my ten year anniversary was where I go next. I seriously considered quitting. I thought about writing a pithy post and signing off. I'm not going to do that. This blog will not see a 20 year anniversary, but it will not end today. It is too much part of who I am. I am changing, however, and writing about politics and the media don't put the fire in my belly as much as they used too. Part of the reason is that I am getting older. The other reason, honestly, is that the City is doing so much better than is was in 2002. At that point we were lost in the wilderness. We have come a long way in ten years. I am proud of this city and while there are still many issues to write about, they don't fall of the tree like they used to do.
I will press on blogging. It will be about like it has been this year, a little sparser. If I get a bee in my bonnet, I may suddenly spew a swarm of posts. If there is a battle to wage, I will suit up my armor and charge out there without looking back. I have recognized that blogging today, as opposed to ten years earlier, is more about longer form ideas, not about posting a few sentences and a link to the latest news story. Social media (Facebook and Twitter) are doing what I used to do on this blog, just shorter. You can get the latest links to news stories 100 times faster in your social media feeds than you can on blog. Most don't recall that blogs were doing that and that's really how they started. That's the only way you can do it day after day, link to someone else's longer posts.
I hope to be more thoughtful. I no longer can post on the breaking news story. I am reading it in my Twitter feed at the same time 80% of my audience is reading it in their Twitter feed. Maybe my Twitter feed will light up more. I don't know. I like have options, however. I like having the chance to grow.
Evolution as a writer is not the sign of getting old, it is sign of getting a little bit wiser. The wise man knows when to change. In my personal life, I really hate change. In my writing, I'm getting better at changing. I can see how I have changed. It just takes time. I am getting better at letting myself change a little faster these days. This blog will eventually end, but not before I take it to new places. Stay tuned and find out where I go.