Well, it would be rude of me not to…
1.Can you remember without looking what your first post was about?
Well, this is a little trickier than it sounds because I have been in “the IT industry” for far too long – about 25 years at the time of writing – and I have had to keep various versions of what you’d call a blog professionally on and off for almost as long as that. Stuff like this was not called a “blog” in those days – I don’t remember when they did start getting called that. I started calling what I did “blogging” when I joined up with Blogger (with my original account, I now have a few) in 1999 before Google eventually bought them and it became all weird. I have always had “online” access throughout my working career – what changed was what you could get “online” and how you did it. In the 1980s it was BBS (bulletin boards) and Unix or Vax boxes with lots of arcane nerdy stuff. Later on it moved more into things like CIX and Compuserve and then someone clever (with lots of friends!) “invented” the World Wide Web and dial-up became useful and less torturous with the advent of lossless compression and 56k modems.
I know for certain, because I’ve asked them to remove it several times, that there is a “blog” of mine on a local ISP from 1997 – the first post was describing some software I had released. It’s still there, it can be Googled, as can many of my very early posts about things like Visual Basic, Delphi and Windows. Google never forgets – it’s worth remembering that when you say something daft.
It was not the first one I ever did so – no I don’t remember. I’d lay money on it saying something like “Hey cool, this is my diary and news page. I’m clever, please like me”. 🙂
2. Where did you write it?
My first “blogs” were written at work when I worked as a programmer and IT Manager in the 1980s and were on the Janet/Usenet and Compuserve/CIX systems.
3. Which was the first blog you read?
Can’t remember – it would most likely be some kind of thing to do with Unix development and almost certainly from MIT. I *always* used to religiously read Byte magazine only for Jerry Pournelle’s column: Computing at Chaos Manor. I wanted to be Jerry and mess with computers and get cool stuff sent to me for free. I started reading his blog the second I heard about it. Jerry’s column was very much like a paper version of what blogs like Boing Boing later on became.
4. Who did/do you tell about your blog if anyone?
Generally I don’t actually tell people about my blog. Typically it gets found from time to time, usually when I really don’t want it to and always when it can cause maximum embarrassment. When I find out someone else I know has a blog I tell them about mine. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written and I swapped to using WordPress because it supported password-protected entries so I could be more explicit or say things I did not want to be accidentally broadcast far and wide. I always assume that, even with a password, the stuff I write will eventually get read by someone I would prefer not to read it. I’ve learnt that this is a good thing and I don’t censor myself (although I do blush sometimes when someone reads back or quotes to me a dodgy passage). I do rewrite history to avoid implicating or causing unintentional harm to people – it’s my choice to open myself to ridicule, criticism or abuse but I don’t think I have the right to do that to someone else. If I have an issue with someone I’ll talk to them face to face or email them privately – a blog is not the forum for that IMHO.
5. Has your blog ever caused a scandal?
Lol. Frequently. I have been challenged on several occasions in the past about descriptions of work colleagues which, although carefully written, still provoked much unwanted discussion. Ex-20sixers may remember “Russian smelly fag computer programmer” – I had to wriggle around a bit over that entry when colleagues stumbled across it. I have also (password protected) blogged about naughtiness, forgotten I had done this and then gave someone the password. It was an uncomfortable moment when they said “I read all your password-protected entries – you are a filthy boy”. 🙂
6. Tell us something random which happened as a result of blogging?
I was offered a job – the one I am in now. I have worked at my current employer for 12 or more years. I left for just under 4 years and worked for myself and then at another company before coming back in March last year. However, I originally got in contact as a result of one of my blogs. I was sent a message saying, in effect, “We have a job opening, would you be interested in applying”. I did and got the job.
7. Snog, Marry or Avoid – pick another blogger for each.
Snog. Hmmm. This is going to be one of those blog entries that I will get in trouble over. I’d snog most girls for fun and without any further intention because I’m a naughty boy but the clear choice, with an agenda, would have to be Lisa.
Marry. Lisa. She is a remarkable woman, probably unique and deserves me. 😉 If someone could just move the American continent so that it’s a few miles off the Dorset coast that would be ideal.
Avoid. Heh heh. SOOOO many bloggers to avoid! I think my most obvious choice is going to have to be described in a slightly obscure way to avoid backlinks. Ex-20sixers/Platform27 will remember one blogger on there who suddenly announced one day that he was gay and then proceeded to detail, in their entirety, his predatory and unpleasant and angst-ridden relationships on his blog. I should point out it was not the being gay bit that is a problem, the gender was irrelevant – it was the way he wrote about EVERY single detail and sounded really like a nasty, dodgy potential sex-pest. He had previously spent the majority of his time blogging very long and winding rants about the government, local government, Tescos and so on. He then started posting sound files of his rants and then YouTube videos. It was absolutely compulsive reading. I stopped when he started putting links to his adult webcam stuff on his site and posting his telephone number. I had a feeling it was going to end with a live stream showing him eating his next-door neighbour and frankly I didn’t want to spare the time to make statements to the police at the inevitable prosecution that would follow. He had the worst blog design known to mankind with HUGE fonts in garish colours that made your eyes bleed. Surely I can’t be the only one to remember him? So, yes, avoid – avoid at all costs. 🙂
8. What’s your most amusing blog memory?
Hmm. I frequently laugh out loud at all sorts of blogs. If I was to pick one of my own blog things that gave me the most personal belly laughs it was when, on 20six, I posted an April Fool’s entry that pretended I had been accidentally hypnotised into believing I was a soldier from the Vietcong Army and could see snipers and so on in the bushes around the garden. Several people fell hook, line and sinker for it and for several days afterwards I had people saying things like “oh my God, that’s why I’d never let myself be hypnotised”. I even got put on WikiPedia’s “April Fool’s Pranks” page (although its dropped off by now).
Blogging is a good thing. I find it to be cathartic, an intellectual outlet and a good pass-time.