1. Go back to your first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days? Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?
2. Do you remember when you received your first comment? What was it like?
I started blogging in February of 2005, just after the end of my maternity leave with Simon. The boys were one and three (!) and I started on a whim. You want to know what really inspired me to blog? I was bored, and playing around with Google. (How bored do you have to be to be poking around on the Google page? REALLY bored!) Google had recently acquired Blogger, and on the Google main page there was a link to some other Google toys. I clicked through to the Blogger one and thought, "Oh yeah, blogs. Hmmm, I should have a blog."
The first blog I'd read, before I even knew what blogs were, was the now-defunct Chez Miscarriage. Getupgrrl was a regular poster on the IVF Connections bulletin board, my online addiction of choice before blogging, and I loved her cynical and hilarious take on infertility. At the time I started blogging myself, I was sporadically reading Chez Miscarriage (though her graphic logo made me cringe every time it appeared on my computer at work), Mommy Needs Coffee, Dooce, and maybe two or three others.
So, back to the meme. I've been told that I have a very distinct bloggy "voice", though I'm still not entirely sure what that means or how it comes across. When I read my first month of posts, I seem to be quite a bit more hyper than I am now - I guess I'm getting older! - and I was rather transparently trying very hard to be funny and clever. I think I'm a little less self-conscious now, and a whole lot more verbose. Can you believe sometimes I posted just a single paragraph? Oh for the good old days!
I was writing primarily for myself (I've always loved the sound of my own voice, Leo that I am) but even in that first month I can see the burgeoning awareness of my audience of close friends. I think I pulled a lot more content from the media back then, too. I really should get back to blogging more about the shiny bits that fascinate me from the mass media, from astronomy to Monty Python. Not everything has to be a treatise with a well-considered defense.
Now, I say that I was writing primarily for myself, but as early as the first week, I was raving about comments. I was beside myself with excitement to get three comments on a single post - which I promptly and accidentally erased when I installed Haloscan for the first time.
What I really like about those first three comments, though, is that two of them are from bloggers I adore to this day. Ann and I have become fast friends over the years, and she has nurtured my spirit as a mother and as a fledgling writer. And though we've never met in person, I've often wished Dean Dad lived in my neighbourhood so we could sit on the porch with our respective spouses and a bottle of wine or a couple of beers and watch our children gambol in the yard while we discuss matters of deep philosophical impact - like, say, whether SpongeBob has contributed more or less to kid culture than Sesame Street.
What I could have never imagined in those tentative early days was where blogging would lead me. Beyond the connection, the sharing, the growth of community and of myself that I attribute directly to this crazy little blog, there's more. In just a couple of weeks, I'll be switching to a new position at work, where I'll spend the best part of a year dedicated solely to developing and implementing policies and projects relating to social media. I'll be looking at the tools of social media - including blogs, wikis, podcasts and the like - as communication tools for the Government of Canada. It's very exciting, and I couldn't be more surprised or proud to pull together what I do for a living with something that inspires me - and confounds me! - so completely.